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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Thursday - April 25, 2013

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Seed and Plant Sources, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Source for seeds of Mexican primrose from Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I purchase Mexican Evening Primrose seeds now for planting in the fall or do I need to wait for the fresh crop of seeds that will be gathered from this spring flowering. How can I be assured the seeds are "fresh". I want to establish a "colony" of the primroses on a sunny slope that is rather dry. After the first year's growth, will I need to supplement water? Live in Dallas.

ANSWER:

First please read a recent Mr. Smarty Plants answer that will tell you what we already know about Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose), just to save us some typing. As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map this plant is native to Dallas County, so your soils, rainfall and climate should be appropriate. You want to know that sort of thing before you ever go shopping for seeds or plants.

If you follow the plant link above to our webpage on this plant, you will get the answers to some of your questions under growing conditions. This includes that it has low to medium water use, but it cannot withstand complete soil dryness, so you may have to make arrangements to sprinkle it occasionally in very dry weather. It needs full sun (6 or more hours of sun a day) to bloom, but will survive in shade. We know of no way to ensure freshness of seeds, but reputable suppliers will have the date gathered information. Under propagation on our webpage, propagation instructions are for root division, seeds, or softwood cuttings. Also,  propagate by seed in fall. After distributing seed evenly, rake into loosened topsoil to ensure good seed/soil contact. Seeding rate is ½ pound per acre but supply is extremely limited. We are not sure if that is because the seeds are very tiny and difficult to gather, or because it can be an invasive plant and gathering of seeds is not encouraged. Getting the seed to germinate may be difficult. The pre-germination requirements are not determined.

As far as sources of seed, back to our webpage:

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

 

You can also go to our National Suppliers Directory, put your town and state or just your zipcode in the "Enter Search Location" box, click on GO,  and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area. All have contact information so you can inquire in advance about availability.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

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