En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Proper method of scattering bluebonnet seeds
December 18, 2008 - I scattered about 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds during various times this past fall season. I have read that it is a must to plant the seeds about an 1/8" of an inch into the ground rather than surface ...
view the full question and answer

Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
June 24, 2011 - Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
view the full question and answer

Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
January 16, 2010 - My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?
view the full question and answer

Can trees survive if trunks are buried under 3-5 ft of soil?
January 27, 2012 - We have two cedar elms and a mesquite that I protected from backfill as our Texas Hill Country lot was leveled in preparation for building a house. The bulkheads are now holding back 3' to 5' of ma...
view the full question and answer

Propagation and transplanting of Vernonia lindheimeri
April 10, 2007 - I have located a wooly ironweed plant and have taken some seeds to start. This is the only ironweed I have seen. Any suggestions on how to start the seed? Also, if development of the property appea...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center