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
7 ratings

Friday - July 01, 2011

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Tx Mt. Laurel and Mex. Buckeye seed propagation in drought
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I live in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Since I am only at my house in July and August, I would like to plant both Texas Mountain Laurel and Mexican Buckeye from the seeds harvested from mother plants on my property at that time. Am I correct in assuming that I must scarify and then soak the seeds of both plants for about a day before planting?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would not recommend that you soak your Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) and Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye) seeds as you propose.  Fracturing the seed coat is necessary with Texas mountain laurel, but Mexican buckeye germinates without such treatment.  Germination is initiated in Texas mountain laurel only when water enters the fractured seed coat. If you will not be on hand to tend seedlings during the heat and often drought in September the plants may well expire.  I suggest that you scarify the seeds and plant them where you wish but leave it to the fall rains to provide the moisture needed to hasten germination.  By that time cooler weather will protect the young plants from drying out.

If you have not scarified hard-coated seeds before check out this web site.  I recommend the use of a file if you have only a few seeds, sandpaper for a few dozens, and perhaps sulphuric acid for a bucketfull.  Beware, sulphuric acid can cause serious burns!

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

Leaf burn on hydrangeas
July 11, 2008 - What causes my leaves to burn on my healthy hydrangeas?
view the full question and answer

Native deer-resistant plants for Virginia
September 26, 2012 - I live in Roanoke/Salem Virginia and want to plant a few plants native to the area along the front yard rock wall. I would prefer they be the same, deer resistant, around 5-6 feet tall max and flower...
view the full question and answer

Problems with shrubs by pool in Bethesda, MD
February 24, 2012 - We are trying to grow Otto Luyken Laurels by a pool and doing okay, some brown spots on leaves, but not many. Also have Arbivatea beside the pool about 3 feet from the edge of the pool. They have a l...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for hedge not toxic to horses and llamas in California
May 01, 2011 - I have goats llamas and horses, and need a short hedge that is non-toxic to them. It will be along a section of no-climb fencing, but they would be able to get to it. I lost a foal this morning and co...
view the full question and answer

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