En Español

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?


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

Saturday - February 26, 2011

From: Round Rock , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of native plants by seed in Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I'm trying to include more native and adapted low water use plants in the landscaping of my yard in Round Rock Texas. Due to a limited budget I've been collecting seeds from plants around the area and hoping to sprout them. I have collected seeds from Desert Willow, Mexican Buckeye, Mexican Plum, Possum Holly, Yaupon Holly, Red Yucca and Prickly Pear Can you give me some advice for how best to get the seeds to sprout? Is there a particular type of soil or time I should plant them? Is it OK to start them in a small container and transplant as they get bigger? Any hints you can give me will be very helpful. Thank you!


The page on our Native Plant Database on each plant contains Propagation Instructions as well as Growing Conditions that should answer your questions about soil, sun requirements, and water use. You have chosen a good selection of plants native to Central Texas that are low water usage. The Propagation Instructions on these will sometimes include using hardwood cuttings. Here is an article on Home Propagation Techniques from North Dakota State University Extension, which should answer some of your other questions. The Red Yucca page does not have Propagation Instructions on it, so we will give you a link to a website on that plant that does. 

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca) - more information from Pima County Master Gardeners

Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri (Texas pricklypear)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Chilopsis linearis

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa

Prunus mexicana

Prunus mexicana

Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

Ilex vomitoria

Hesperaloe parviflora

Hesperaloe parviflora

Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri

Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri





More Propagation Questions

Dividing Hesperaloe
December 09, 2015 - How and when can I successfully separate a clump of Hesperaloe Parviflora into smaller bunches?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Crossvine from San Antonio
September 03, 2011 - I have a new Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) that has a single seedpod so far. What is the best way to plant it for the best chances for success? It is still green and a very hot August. Do I plant ...
view the full question and answer

Speeding up growth of Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
January 12, 2012 - I have germinated Hesperaloe parviflora, Red Yucca, for our Caddo Native plant sale. I have kept in the cool greenhouse for 2 months and they are about 2 inches. A friend put one outside and they froz...
view the full question and answer

Propagating plant cuttings in cut potato from Columbia MO
June 26, 2012 - Hello. I belong to a garden group and one of the members posted a "tip" she found in an early 2000 garden magazine. I wanted to see if there was any truth to the tip? Basically the tip was to use...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Jack in the Pulpit in Lansing MI
April 18, 2010 - I just received some Jack in The Pulpit corms. Which way is up; does the pointy thing go up or down? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center