keywords: howtogrow Texas Bluebonnet, alias lupinus texensis
location: Chicago, Illinois, Zone5
Ordinarly Texas bluebonnets sprout in Texas in the Fall, grow slightly through the Winter and then grow rapidly and bloom in the Spring. Unfortunately Chicago winters are too cold for this cycle. However I've found that you can plant them in March and then they will bloom in the summer or fall.
The seeds don't sprout easily but you can improve the germination rate by using a pin to make a tiny dent in the rounder end of the seed. Another option I've seen but never tried is to pour boiling water over the seeds.
I did once get seeds for the Abbot pink variety from the Texas Seed Company. They pretreated the seeds with acid to damage the hard seed coat that inhibits the seeds from sprouting but when I tried to start these indoors they rotted rather than sprouted. To beat this problem I put the seeds in a clear plastic box lined with damp paper towels and when they started to sprout I moved them to a small pot. Probably putting them into Park's Start cylinders would work just as well. This pink version is only slightly pink, more pink in cold weather but almost white in hot weather.