En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 07, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Other
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Problems with propagation of Indian Paintbrush (Castileja indivisa)
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are growing Indian Paintbrush. I have 2-300 seedlings. They were sown with fescue and have grown beautifully. Now they are approximately 4-6 inches high, a few have bloomed and many seem to be dying out. Can you share any information on keeping them growing and healthy until spring when they can go outside. They are in a 30% pearlite mixture. How do I keep them growing and go about transplanting them without losing them. It is sad to have lost any after all this time.

ANSWER:

The paintbrushes Castilleja sp. have been called "harder to establish than any other wildflower" by Howard Garrett, (Plants for Texas) and impossible to transplant by Sally & Andy Wasowski, (Native Texas Plants). Since it is believed that the paintbrushes parasitize the roots of grasses and other plants (e.g., bluebonnets), you have done the correct thing by sowing your seeds with fescue. There are several possibilities for your problem with the paintbrushes but I don't think we can give a definitive answer as to which of these it might be. The possibilities are: water stress, both too little or too much—or too little and too much; soil-borne disease or insect predation; soil pH issues; or simple dormancy could be occurring.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers for April wedding near Austin TX
August 31, 2015 - Home wedding April 2016. Live North of Austin.on 200 acres ranch and would like to plant wildflowers. What to plant? When to plant? Flowers that will sustain in vase or bouquet?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for hill with erosion in San Carlos, CA
September 22, 2012 - What wildflowers would you suggest for our hills that have erosion, low ground cover in San Carlos, California?
view the full question and answer

Is Common Milkweed a Succulent?
March 31, 2015 - Is the common milkweed (butterfly plant) classified as a succulent?
view the full question and answer

What to plant in northern Virginia
October 20, 2004 - We have recently purchased 10 acres in Northern Virginia, and would like to plant native wildflowers on 4 of the acres. The soil has a high clay content and is currently covered in a mixture of grasse...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife uses of wildflowers in Central Texas
May 01, 2006 - How are wildflowers in Central Texas used by wildlife?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center