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Saturday - September 19, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Groundcovers
Title: Horseherb for ground cover in Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When considering horseherb as a ground cover for a large area; are there disadvantages to sowing seed versus planting established plants? If not, what time of year is best to sow horseherb?

ANSWER:

According to our Native Plant Database, Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy), also known as horseherb, is easy to propagate from fresh seed sown without treatment as well as being easy to divide and relocate. It is sometimes regarded as a weed, and you may have neighbors who would be delighted to have you pull it out of their flowerbeds and take it away. It is only beginning to be regarded as a good groundcover, sometimes available from nurseries, but we don't think seed is commercially available. Our personal preference in your case would be transplanting by root division. This time of year would be good, no intense heat and it will be quite a while, if ever, before it gets very cold in the Dallas area. 

Horseherb is semi-evergreen, remaining green and blooming year-round in temperate climates. It can go dormant in cold winters. It ordinarily blooms yellow March to November, has low water use, and can do well in sun, part shade or shade. If you have it in the shade of large deciduous trees, you should be careful not to let it get smothered in fallen leaves. Rake them out and put them in your compost pile, and you will be rewarded by green foliage and little daisy-like blooms. 

If you can't find a supply of transplants in the neighborhood, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape contractors in your general area. They have contact information and you can get in touch with them looking for seed or bedding plants. 

In terms of disadvantages of sowing seed vs. root propagation, the only one we can think of is that you will have plants in place right away with transplants, but will have to wait until the seed sprouts; meanwhile, other plants that you don't want may be sprouting, too. If you can obtain seed, late Fall is probably the best time. If you are planting on a slope, you might lose a lot of seed in Fall rains, in which case the transplants would still be the best alternative. 

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