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

Monday - December 10, 2012

From: Lafayette, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Shrubs
Title: Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hello, I have a good portion of Wax Myrtle Seeds. How do I get them Started for planting? Have been told to put several seeds in a Jar lid in a very damp paper-towel & leave them there till they start sprouting. Can you advise on the proper way to get the seeds started & also when is the best time of year for planting for this area (SOuth Central Louisiana)? Thanks, Bill Ortego


Follow this plant link, Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), to our webpage on this plant, which is native to Louisiana and should find good conditions for growing in your area. Note these Propagation Intructions on that page:


Propagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Sow seed outdoors in the fall or stratify. Wax myrtle will root from softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer. Root cuttings, 2-3 in. long., can be make in early winter.
Seed Collection: Collect fruit in September or October. Leave waxy coating on during storage, but remove it prior to sowing or stratification. Remove in a solution of 1 t. lye to 1 gal. water. Store seeds in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify in moist peat 60-90 days at 34-41 degrees. Many seeds have a waxy coat that prevents water uptake and stratification. Soaking seeds in hot water or rubbing them vigorously against a rough surface will help remove the wax.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Height and legginess can be maintained with a line trimmer or the shrub can be allowed to develop into an airy hedge. Prune annually if want to maintain a tree shape."

Since the article says to stratify seed 60-90 days and you gather them in September and October, we would assume that you could begin planting in late Winter, perhaps February to March.

From the University of Florida Extension office, here is an article that pretty well echoes our earlier estimate of when and how to plant seeds. 


From the Image Gallery

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

More Shrubs Questions

Trimming of Pineapple Sage and Salvia Greggii
October 07, 2007 - I live in Central Austin. My question is: When is the best time to trim back Pineapple Sage and Salvia Gregii? How far back should these plants be trimmed?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for memorial garden in Michigan
March 04, 2008 - I want to start a memorial garden for my daughter. I live in northern Michigan and the area has very tall white pines we have pruned them up about 15' so the area does get partial sun. Which plants w...
view the full question and answer

Plant for part sun in Nampa Idaho
May 20, 2010 - What could I plant in arid SW Idaho on the northwest side of my house along a border against the house? Most of the day this area is in shade, but at the hottest time of the day it gets a couple of h...
view the full question and answer

Coursetia axillaris from cuttings from Elmendorf TX
October 31, 2013 - I have been able to propagate the Coursetia axillaris (Texas Babybonnets) from cuttings. Will the plants grown from cuttings bloom faster?
view the full question and answer

Thorny shrub for deterring break-ins in southeast Texas
February 05, 2013 - Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native.
view the full question and answer

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