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?


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
5 ratings

Monday - August 25, 2008

From: Santa Fe, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: When to plant Indian paintbrush seeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live in Santa Fe, Texas and I've been trying to find the right date to plant Indian Paintbrush seeds but so far have been unsuccessful. I know it says in the fall but that seems to be a broad range. I have found that one needs to plant bluebonnets around September 1st and was wondering if the paintbrush seeds can be planted at the same time. Thank You


September is a good time to plant the paintbrushes along with the bluebonnet seeds. The seeds of both plants need to undergo an extended cold period in order to germinate. Planting the two seeds together will also give you a better chance of growing paintbrushes since they are hemi-parasitic on other plants and Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is one of the plants that is often used as a host plant. The paintbrushes can germinate without a host, but in order to grow well and bloom they need a host plant for their roots to attach to. The paintbrush receives extra water and, perhaps, some nutrients from the host. This arrangement does not kill the host. You can also start the seeds in a greenhouse and then set out the small plants in the spring. Please see the answer to another recent question to learn more about propagating Indian paintbrushes.


Castilleja indivisa

Castilleja indivisa

Castilleja indivisa

Castilleja indivisa




More Propagation Questions

Propagation of possumhaw from Austin
May 22, 2014 - I planted a possumhaw holly plant about 3 months ago and am really excited to watch it grow from its current 3-foot height. It is starting to berry right now. My question is about those berries: (Cle...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Mexican buckeye from seeds in San Antonio
October 02, 2009 - I recently collected seeds from a Mexican buckeye. Is it best to plant them now or wait until spring? Do they need to be scarified?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Asclepias tuberosa
June 18, 2012 - Re: Asclepias tuberosa, "butterfly weed" bush -- I have a bed in a mix of Shoal Creek well-drained caliche, soil, and some enrichment of mulch that gets almost full sun and low water. After 4 yrs a...
view the full question and answer

Source of dollarweed for shady lawn in Hillsboro TX
December 19, 2011 - I live in Hillsboro,Tx - Where can I get Dollar Weed for my shady lawn?
view the full question and answer

Petunias pollinated by clematis from Logansport IN
July 11, 2012 - Can petunias be pollinated by clematis? I have 2 petunias that have split blooms and look like a small clematis flower. They are growing close to a jackamani clematis.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center