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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 14, 2008

From: Canyon Lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Seed collection from rain lilies
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hello, I have some rain lilies growing in our yard. I've collected some seed heads, but am not sure what steps to take now. They were all off of broken stems (the dogs are not as cautious as I am), but range in color from green to dark purple. How do I know if they are developed enough? Do I need to clean them?


Cooperia pedunculata (Hill Country rain lily) and Cooperia drummondii (evening rainlily) are very special flowers that pop up and surprise you with their beauty right after a rain. It is possible to grow them from seeds, but the seeds you collect need to be mature. The green ones you have are probably not going to be viable. The ones that will be viable are the ones that are dark and nearly dry. In fact, your best bet is to let the seed pods become very dry on the plant before you collect them. You will see under "Propagation" on the Hill Country rain lily page that they don't store very well so they should be planted soon after you collect them. Remove them from the seed cases and spread in a single layer on paper towels or newspaper to dry. You can store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator until ready to plant them. Also, they will reseed themselves if you let the seed pods dry completely on the plant and naturally disperse.

 For general directions on seed collection, please see our "How to Article" Seed Collecting and Storage.


Cooperia pedunculata

Cooperia pedunculata

Cooperia drummondii

Cooperia drummondii



More Propagation Questions

Vehicle friendly oak trees for Austin
March 30, 2008 - Do Chinquapins, Shumards or Live Oaks produce lots of tree sap? I'm looking for a vehicle friendly Oak tree to be installed in parking areas in Austin, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
October 05, 2013 - How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
view the full question and answer

Growing Big Red Sage from Seed in San Antonio
November 04, 2010 - I harvested some seed this year from my Big Red Salvia (Salvia penstemonoides). I have searched multiple sites looking for information on growing this wonderful salvia but cannot locate any informati...
view the full question and answer

Landscape services in Austin
February 21, 2011 - I just bought a property in Austin with a terrific outdoor space. However, I came to find that the previous owner added jasmine and many other invasive species. I'd like to rid the entire space of th...
view the full question and answer

Time of year to plant Tecoma stans
December 16, 2007 - I wanted to know when the best time to plant the Esperanza flower (Tecoma stans) was. The information on the website did not give planting dates or soil conditions for this plant. Can you please help?...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center