California superbloom carpets landscape in color

California superbloom: Yellow and purple hills from a carpet of flowers.
EarthSky friend Mimi Ditchie captured this photo of the California superbloom on April 6, 2023. She saw blankets of wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument, located 150 miles (240 km) from Los Angeles. Used with permission. Thank you, Mimi!

Help! EarthSky needs your support to continue. Our yearly crowd-funding campaign is going on now. Donate here.

California superbloom appears after record rainfall

What some are calling the year of the superbloom is underway in the Golden State. Fields of colorful wildflowers are bursting to life after years of drought in California. It’s a spectacular sight, as Mother Nature puts on a show of shows, in celebration of record rainfall.

The Theodore Payne Foundation Wild Flower Hotline – now in its 40th year – is providing weekly updates on the best superbloom locations in Southern and Central California.

Do you have a photo of this year’s superbloom in California? Submit it to EarthSky community page!

The California superbloom from space

Satellite image with mountains shown in green and yellow.
This Landsat 9 image shows the desert blooming in Carrizo Plain National Monument on April 6, 2023. Image via NASA Earth Observatory.

Floral display needs a drought to set the stage

Mother Nature needs a drought before she can cover the deserts, plains and hills with astonishing hues. As meteorologist Heather Waldman at KCRA New in Sacremento, California explained back in February:

A prolonged period of drought sets the stage. Several years’ worth of drier-than-average conditions causes wildflower seeds to lay dormant and build up rather than bloom. The drier conditions also prevent weeds and other vegetation from overgrowing, leaving more nutrients in the soil.

Superblooms are more frequent in Southern California, where conditions are generally drier. But it looks as if Northern California and the coastal regions will see their share of color, too, in this 2023 wildflower season.

The San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada are getting in on the act, of course.

Bottom line: A California superbloom is underway for 2023. Drought conditions followed by copious rain led to this beautiful outburst of wildflowers.

April 12, 2023

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Dave Adalian

View All