Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - October 24, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagating redbud (Cercis canadensis) seeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our Red Bud tree is full of bean shaped seed pods. Can those be planted and if so how? I enjoy puttering in the yard.

ANSWER:

First of all, after you remove the pods from your Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud), you will need to remove the actual seeds from the pods. You will note that the seeds themselves have a very hard seed covering. You will need to scarify (break or soften) that seed cover in order to enhance germination. You can nick each of the seeds using a knife or by abrading with sandpaper. You can also do this by soaking in concentrated sulfuric acid for up to 45 minutes, but this operation should ideally be done under a fume, or chemical, hood to protect your lungs, eyes, and nasal passages. Jill Nokes in "How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest". (University of Texas Press, 2001) reports several methods to be followed after you have scarified them, but the simplest is to rinse the seeds after scarification and dry very briefly. Next put them into a flat bowl or pan and pour boiling water over them. Let them remain overnight in the water as it cools. Plant them in individual small containers to germinate. The seedlings can later be transplanted. Your local library should have a copy of the above book by Jill Nokes or you can probably find it in your favorite book store. You can check it to read about other possible methods for germinating the seed. It should be noted that not all seeds that you collect will be viable. You can check for viability by dropping the seeds (removed from the pod) into a container of water BEFORE you scarify them. The viable seeds will sink while the non-viable ones will float and you can discard them.

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

Determining ripeness of seeds of Crotonn texensis
May 01, 2007 - How can I tell when the seeds of Croton texensis are "ripe"?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of indoor plants for school project
January 28, 2008 - I have an assignment for school that requires that I get two indoor plants. One has to grow in water and one has to grow in soil. Each plant needs to grow at a fast pace, and at about the same pace....
view the full question and answer

Germination of bluebonnet seeds in Hempstead, TX
April 01, 2008 - We scattered 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds on our property near Hempstead. Only about 10 plants have come up even though on another part of the property we have thousands. It is well drained and in sun....
view the full question and answer

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.