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?

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

Hardiness of Acerola bush for Conway AR
January 25, 2013 - How far north can you grow an Acerola bush? I live in Conway, AR, which is north of Little Rock.We used to be Zone 7, but now we are on the edge of Zone 8, I believe.
view the full question and answer

Growing Buttonbush in California
May 24, 2015 - For the Buttonbush, how do you keep it consistently moist?
view the full question and answer

Care of Northern honeysuckle bush
April 26, 2009 - I have a honeysuckle bush, I have had it for about year to two years. I would like to know if I should cut the brown parts off. There are some vines that do not look good, but some of the branches ha...
view the full question and answer

Time to cut back Turk's Cap in Austin
January 27, 2011 - I did not find my question answered in the database. My question is: When is the best time to cut back Red Turks Cap? I live in Central Austin.
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
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