En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 19, 2008

From: Cohasset, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Propagation
Title: Gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides propagation
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, if that is your real name, How long, if at all, will I need to stratify my gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides seeds to have them come up this summer?

ANSWER:

Okay, Mr. Smarty Plants isn't our real name, but neither is it Merlin the Magician. We will be happy to try to provide you with the propagation instructions for Gaillardia suavis (perfumeballs) and Salvia penstemonoides (big red sage) but we have no idea if there is any way to make them come up this summer, especially in Massachusetts.

First, the Gaillardia suavis (perfumeballs). From this Flora of North America website, we found that this Gaillardia is found naturally only in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Mexico. It blooms March to June, and the seeds should be harvested in June. We found no references to stratification techniques for this plant. We also learned that it is a perennial that comes back up every Spring from roots, but if propagated from seed will not bloom until the second Spring. In the Southwest, we plant seeds in the Fall, ordinarily, so they won't come up too soon and the young plants be blistered in our hot sun. The best we can figure, you are in Zone 6 of the USDA Hardiness Zone, which would mean you would need to plant them in the Spring, after the danger of freezing the emerging plants is past.

Salvia penstemonoides (big red sage) is endemic to the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas. It was once thought extinct, but seeds are now available in a few native seed catalogs and it apparently grows easily from seed. In addition to the Wildflower Center webpage, here is information from the Missouri Botanical Garden on this plant. Obviously, they're talking about plants in Missouri, but they indicate that St. Louis might be almost too far north for big red sage to survive. Again, no information on seed treatment to force them to grow when they're not ready.

We apologize if we couldn't find the exact information you wanted. If you already have seeds, there is certainly no reason why you couldn't experiment, perhaps planting some seeds in small pots and creating a mini-greenhouse to get them started. If you need to order seed, notice that there is a weblink to Native American Seed under "Find Seed" near the bottom of the individual plant website pages. Also, you might check with the books listed below under "Bibliography" for more detailed information. Honestly, we think that patience is the best policy here-get your seeds, find out the best time of year to plant them where you are, and see if they can survive in Massachusetts weather.


Gaillardia suavis

Gaillardia suavis

Salvia penstemonoides

Salvia penstemonoides

 

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Pink lady slipper orchids in Maine
May 24, 2009 - Hi, I have moved to Maine from Virginia--it's a new world of plants!!Exciting!! I have found 2 pink lady slippers on our property. What can I do to encourage them to multiply? I know some wild flowe...
view the full question and answer

What kind of alcohol to use with Passiflora seeds?
March 12, 2010 - Hi, I read a question and answer related to gernmination of passiflora incarnata. You recommended a 5% alcohol/water solution to soak the seeds prior to sowing. I just want to make sure that you are...
view the full question and answer

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Propagating plant cuttings in cut potato from Columbia MO
June 26, 2012 - Hello. I belong to a garden group and one of the members posted a "tip" she found in an early 2000 garden magazine. I wanted to see if there was any truth to the tip? Basically the tip was to use...
view the full question and answer

When can bluebonnet seeds in freezer be planted in Midland TX
January 12, 2010 - I have a large pkg of bluebonnets in my freezer that I had planned to plant in October and forgot. Is January too late for Bluebonnets to come up in March-April? A year ago in Spring my brother and I...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center