This article was last updated by on

Are Bluebonnets Lupines? [Similarities and Differences]

The pea-shaped blue to purple flowers of Bluebonnets that look like a type of Lupines make you wonder if Bluebonnets are Lupines, but surprisingly it is not. 

Lupines is an umbrella term used for the plants in the genus Lupinus. At the same time, Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) is a variety of Lupiens that is annual and native to the Southwestern part of the U.S.

Besides, Bluebonnets appear similar to most of the Lupiens variety but vary in growing conditions and environmental requirements. 

What is Lupine Plant?

Lupines or Lupinous is a group of herbaceous flowering plants native to North and South America. 

With over 180 varieties, Lupines are adored for their pea-shaped flower, cladding in various shades of blue, purple, and pink to white and yellow. 

Most Lupines, like Bigleaf Lupine and Wild Lupine, profoundly grow as perennial from zone 4 to zone 9.

While Dwarf Lupine and Hartweg’s Lupine are cold-sensitive annuals failing to survive the extreme winter.

Further, Lupines are a part of the legume family, Fabaceae, and thus carry nitrogen fixation ability by root nodules.

Are Texas Bluebonnets and Lupines the Same?

Bluebonnets are the specific annuals falling under the genus Lupinus. So, technically, Bluebonnets are not the same as Lupines but their type.

Originally a wildflower, Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) is a Texas native plant that is now grown as an ornamental in different states. And the common name differs accordingly, like Buffalo Clover and Wolf Clover. 

Meanwhile, Bluebonnet is among the six flowers listed as the state flower of Texas due to its alluring beauty. And perfectly adapting to the 7-8 hours of bright Texas sunlight.

A bluebonnet blooming from the crack of rocks.
Despite being a wildflower, Bluebonnets look like a piece of art in the plane area.

Given the same family and genus, Bluebonnets resemble the Lupine varieties in many ways. 

For instance, the Texas Bluebonnet flowers have vertically arranged petals in upright spike-like clusters. Banner petals, or the outermost elongated petals, stand erect and have a hoodlike appearance.

Further, mature Lupines, including Bluebonnets, can grow up to 1 to 2 feet in height. While some perennial Lupines can go as tall as 3 to 5 feet and even more at times.

Also, you’ll not have a problem growing them as both plants are light feeders and only demand weekly watering. 

Difference between Bluebonnets and Lupines

Despite all these physical resemblances, some unique growing features set Bluebonnets apart from Lupines.

Lupines are invasive in nature out of their native area, where they can take over the fellow garden plant. Basically, they stress the neighboring plant for light, nutrients, and space and gradually take over the garden. On the other heads, Bluebonnets hardly invade.

Similarly, Lupines are cool-season crop thriving in moderate temperatures of 65 to 75°F, but Bluebonnets barely survive the winter. 

Since Texas Bluebonnets fail to keep up with the harsh winter below-freezing point. So, they are annuals, different from most of the Lupines. 

You may use winter protection like burlap and fleece blankets to help Texas Bluebonnets transition to pass the winter season.

That said, they may leave behind their seed, which can germinate once the temperature starts rising up in the following growing season. Bluebonnet seeds stay behind due to the dispersal of mature seeds from the seed pod. 

Where To Buy Bluebonnet Seeds?

Once the Texas Bluebonnet plant starts its lateral growth, carpeting the field, you know they are at a good growth phase. Chances are you will have vibrant blooms with good seed production.

Following the growth, the plant begins blooming in the spring, i.e., from March to May. Flowering, however, depends on the climatic conditions and the variety you choose. 

Nevertheless, wait for the seed pods to turn brown and dry, after which you can harvest the seeds. 

But, in case you miss the harvestable maturity and Texas Bluebonnets seeds have managed to escape the pods, here is where you can buy them.

Online ShopNo of Seeds
Wildseed Farms13500 seeds per pound
Amazon500 seeds per packet
Texas Bluebonnet Seed Company6750 seeds per 1/2 lb
Native American1 lb covers 500 sq ft

Form Editorial Team 

Be Aware of Toxicity!

Bluebonnets and Lupines contain alkaloids like lupinine and sparteine that possess toxic effects on humans and pets.

The toxins can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting upon ingestion. In severe cases, it may elevate to cardiac or neurological issues. 

So, keep your plant far from your kids and pets and use a deterrent. Do not hesitate to contact a nearby vet in case of any mishaps.