I have been breeding bluebonnets as a hobby (but not very seriously) for a
few years now. I mark bluebonnet plants that are noteable for some reason
or another and collect the seeds when they ripen, assuming they haven't been
mowed in the mean time. As a result of this hobby, I have bred plants that
have flowers with light blue, grey, white, pink, lavender, and speckled
flowers. Pictured are a few of the forms.
There are some things limiting this hobby:
- Insufficient space
- Moves (it takes a lot of time to establish a bluebonnet population)
- Pollination -- one very annoying thing is that the bees ignore all the
specialty varieties. This makes it necessary to hand pollinate the plants.
That, of course, is desireable when the goal is to cross two particular
plants. However, when trying to increase a population, it's very frustrating
because pollinating the flowers is very time consuming. Thinking I could
persuade the bees to visit the flowers I wanted them to visit, I once tried
putting a drop of sugar water on the flowers I wanted them to pollinate.
This didn't work. The bees changed from pollen-collecting mode to
nectar-sucking mode, and in this mode they did not open the flowers at all.