One year ago, the Carrizo Plain wildflower bloom was reaching its peak, attracting visitors from all throughout the Central Coast and beyond. Last year’s super bloom came as a result of the early 2019 rainy season that washed over San Luis Obispo County.
The dry winter this year, however, gives little to no promise of that same blossom.
Biological sciences professor Nishanta Rajakaruna explained that if there is any bloom this year, it will likely not be as good as it was last year.
“Not much rain, especially at critical times, so I don’t think we will have a super bloom like we did last year,” Rajakaruna said.
Abundant wildflower displays often occur when several years of drought are followed by an unusually rainy season. When the wildflower seeds have been dormant in dry soil and then experience sudden rain, they all germinate or begin growing at about the same time, causing a massive bloom.
Biological sciences professor David Keil said that even with rainy weather, super blooms are extremely rare. Keil said that he has taken several groups of students on field trips to see blooms. While there were a few years that had good blooms, very few of them qualify as super blooms, Keil said.
“Those were years that typically had an abundance of rainfall, and we haven’t had an abundance of rainfall this year,” Keil said. “I’m looking at a year that has probably well below average wildflower display.”
While 2020 has not been promising with rain so far, things could still turn around by spring, Keil said.
“We still have the rest of February and March to provide us with more precipitation,” Keil said. “Maybe there will be a March miracle, but they don’t happen very often.”
While a super bloom is highly unlikely at this point, patient wildflower lovers can still hope for March rain to bring a bloom by April, according to Keil.