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

Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Sanderson, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation
Title: Blazing stars plants in Sanderson, FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted some blazing stars & they did not come up.What is the best way to start them out?

ANSWER:

The trouble with common names is that the same common name may refer to several totally different species of plants. From our Native Plant Database, we found 19 plants with the words "blazing star" in their common names. Seventeen of these were members of the genus Liatris, one was Mentzelia multiflora (Adonis blazingstar) and one, Chamaelirium luteum (fairywand), also called "Blazing Star". We are going to guess you are referring to the Liatris plants. Back to the Native Plant Database, we learned that 6 members of that genus are natives to Florida. Since at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are committed to plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, we will look at these six plants for some propagation information:

Liatris aspera (tall blazing star)

Liatris elegans (pinkscale blazing star)

Liatris pilosa var. pilosa (shaggy blazing star) - pictures

Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)

Liatris squarrosa (scaly blazing star)

Liatris tenuifolia (shortleaf blazing star) - pictures

On the webpage for Liatris aspera (tall blazing star), we found these Propagation Instructions:

"Description: Scarified seeds may be sown outside in late fall or stored, stratified and sown the following spring. Some sources suggest spring seedlings will appear by simply laying the flowering stalk in an outdoor seedbed and covering with 1/2 in. of soil in the fall.

Seed Collection: Wait until the flower heads on the entire stalk have turned fluffy tan before collecting. Bring the stalks inside to air-dry then shake or brush the nutlets from the heads. Seeds can be stored with chaff in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Scarification (lightly nick with knife) and stratification (3 months at 40 degrees).
Commercially Avail: yes"

These same instructions were on the pages of other of the Liatris. We are guessing that you may have planted at the wrong time, failed to scarify the seeds if you were going to plant them in the Spring, or perhaps had purchased or been given non-viable seeds.


Mentzelia multiflora

Chamaelirium luteum

Liatris aspera

Liatris spicata

Liatris squarrosa

 

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Ground cover plants for a shady North Carolina yard
March 20, 2016 - Ground cover erosion control for heavily shaded area in Cary, North Carolina. Current landscapers use strong blowers for leaf control. This blows away any seeds, loose soil and mulch. Tree roots ar...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)
November 08, 2013 - I am a gardener for the city of San Francisco. I am just curious about the best way to prepare an acorn from Quercus agrifolia for planting. I have heard many ideas about using sandpaper and microwavi...
view the full question and answer

Why is my yaupon tree not producing berries in Metairie La?
November 04, 2009 - What is the lifespan of a Yaupon Tree? We live in Louisiana, and our Yaupon would always get the white flowers in the Spring but never the red berries. Why is that?
view the full question and answer

Native bulbs for the northeastern U. S.
November 23, 2007 - What native bulbs could we plant in the Northeast? Can they only be planted in the fall as Dutch bulbs are?
view the full question and answer

Pollinating Pawpaws
February 06, 2013 - We have many good sized pawpaw trees in our area but they never bear any fruit. I've checked them at different times in the fall over the years but no fruit. Someone told me that the flowers were po...
view the full question and answer

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