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What to expect for wildflower season on the Central Coast

Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 22:02:16-05

Super blooms are a California wonder that drew big crowds to several locations across the state in the last several years.

The Carrizo Plain was one San Luis Obispo County area that saw lands covered in flowers like goldfields, hillside daisies and purple phacelia.

But even after the Central Coast saw heavy rain this January, it's still to be determined if the colorful fields will return.

David Hacker, Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, says despite the rain SLO County received, the storms were patchy throughout the county and the Carizzo Plains did not receive as much rain as other areas.

While it's a long shot, Hacker says wildflower blooms can still happen.

"If we get a good shot of rain between now and mid-March, but it is pretty dry right now so the plants that have germinated need some water to keep going," he says.

Director of Operations Daniel Sinton says many come out to Avenales Ranch to see the wildflowers along Shell Creek Road, as well.

"Fortunately, the wildflowers were really nice last year and we saw thousands of people coming out to see them," he says.

Sinton says while the January rains were helpful, he also thinks more rain is going to be needed for a super bloom like those in years past.

"We are starting to see a few of the wildflowers pop up, we have got some shooting stars and goldfields that are starting to show up. Hopefully by April, we will have enough rain to pull something together for the seeds," he says.

The Bureau of Land Management explains that a super bloom is a very unusual event that occurs very rarely.

Natural Resource Specialist Ryan O'Dell says he believes there is no chance this season.

"The one good storm that we had during the entire Winter, on Jan. 27 - 28, was too little rain, too late in the season," O'Dell says. "Super blooms are the result of far above ((2x +) average annual rainfall in deserts. There are many factors that affect how good a super bloom will be [like] timing of rainfall, total rainfall, temperature, weed abundance, etc."

It will be left to Mother Nature to decide, but for now, super bloom or not, Hacker says community members should visit SLO County's open landscape.

"I would encourage people to go out there regardless of the wildflower display this year, enjoy the wildlife and wide-open landscape and the access to public lands. We are lucky to have that in this county."