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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 05, 2005

From: Danville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Desmanthus and Chamaecrista seeds
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello my wildflower specialist friend. I got 20 Desmanthus illinoensis and also Chamaecrista fasciculata seeds. Then I planted them in early March, when there was still frost, in clayish soil, not far from woods where they'll get 2/3 of a day of full sunlight. However, now it is the middle of May and they haven't come up at all. Do you think something is wrong? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Desmanthus and Chamaecrista seeds have extraordinarily hard seed coats. The characteristics of their seed coats are adapations that help ensure the survival of the species through climatic extremes. You will probably see only a few if any seeds germinate the first year -- even with some scarification. You are likely to see more germination next year and even later. Plants produce many, many seeds to help ensure their survival. Most seeds simply don't survive to make mature plants. Any number of diseases, microorganisms and insects feed on plant seeds and seedlings. There are just many things that can go wrong during a seeds journey to maturity. It is possible that some or all of your seeds have been victims of predation or some other malady. Having painted a rather dark picture, I will say that both of the species you are trying to grow can be spectacularly successful when conditions are right. If you have placed your seeds in a good growing environment for them and the seeds are viable, you are likely to be rewarded for your efforts.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
February 17, 2005 - We live on a farm and have recently had a cow that was deathly sick, then finally got better. We also had a couple of calving problems with the cows. I was reading about how toxic tailcup lupine is to...
view the full question and answer

Bees and Bulbs
April 20, 2015 - Are any of the Non-Native bulbs beneficial to bees of any kind? My Dutch hyacinths, and daffodils are so prolific; they are both single, but I can't find any information about them as sources of nect...
view the full question and answer

A&M maroon bluebonnets for Hawaii
July 10, 2011 - My daughter graduated from Texas A&M and has moved to Hawaii. She would love to have the maroon bluebonnets developed by A&M to plant in her new home. How would she need to prepare the seeds since t...
view the full question and answer

Optimum viewing time for Texas wildflowers, bluebonnets
March 01, 2007 - I will make a car trip from Alabama to Anson, Texas, in the next month or so. I would like to time my visit to see the Blue Bonnets and/or wildflowers blooming. Please advise me as to the best time t...
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

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