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Tuesday - July 21, 2009

From: Bend, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting or seeding Indian paintbrush in Bend OR
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I would like to know whether I can transplant native Indian paintbrush plants into my landscaping, or do I need to try and grow them from seed?


When we searched our Native Plant Database for members of the Castilleja genus that had the common name "Indian painbrush" we found 46 species native to North America. We then searched on Oregon for that species, and found there were 17 native to Oregon. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. We will list the paintbrushes native to Oregon, but they should all have about the same growth requirements. Please note the last line of the Conditions Comments.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet to moist, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Roots grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, then penetrate the roots of these host plants, obtaining a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush usually kills it.

So, looks like seeding is the way to go. We found these Propagation Instructions for Castilleja:


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Seed in open, sunny sites for best results. Indian paintbrush seed may require a cold wet period in the winter to germinate. Plant the seed in the fall and rake it into loose topsoil to ensure good seed/soil contact. Seeds are exceptionally small (4 million seeds per pound), commercially available, depending on the previous year’s seed crop and can be expensive. The recommended seeding rate in 1/4 pound per acre.
Seed Collection: Seeds are formed in capsules at the base of each flower. Seed capsules may be carefully collected by hand April – May when the capsules are dry and brown.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: After flowering ceases, allow seeds to completely mature before mowing for reseeding or collecting to plant in a new area. Since Castilleja is an annual, it is essential that this species be allowed to reseed for an abundant display for the following year.

Now, where to find the seeds. You want to plant seeds for Castilleja that is native to Oregon. Go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, put your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get the names and contact information of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. Most of them have websites, and all have addresses and telephone numbers, so you can contact them in advance in your search for the seeds. 

Indian Paintbrush native to Oregon: Castilleja affinis (coast Indian paintbrush), Castilleja ambigua ssp. ambigua (johnny-nip), Castilleja angustifolia (northwestern Indian paintbrush), Castilleja applegatei (wavyleaf Indian paintbrush), Castilleja arachnoidea (cobwebby Indian paintbrush), Castilleja attenuata (attenuate Indian paintbrush), Castilleja flava (yellow Indian paintbrush), Castilleja hispida (harsh Indian paintbrush), Castilleja levisecta (golden Indian paintbrush), Castilleja linariifolia (Wyoming Indian paintbrush), Castilleja lutescens (stiff yellow Indian paintbrush), Castilleja miniata (giant red Indian paintbrush), Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata (giant red Indian paintbrush), Castilleja parviflora (mountain Indian paintbrush), Castilleja parviflora var. oreopola (Henry Indian paintbrush)Castilleja rhexiifolia (splitleaf Indian paintbrush), Castilleja rupicola (cliff Indian paintbrush).

Pictures of Indian Paintbrush Native to Oregon from our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Castilleja affinis

Castilleja ambigua ssp. ambigua

Castilleja angustifolia

Castilleja applegatei

Castilleja arachnoidea

Castilleja linariifolia

Castilleja lutescens

Castilleja miniata

Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata

Castilleja parviflora var. oreopola

Castilleja rhexiifolia








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