Contact Us Host an Event 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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 13, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Flowering ofPluchea odorata in Houston, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I sprouted Pluchea odorata seeds this spring, but the plants seem too small to bloom this year. Although your website characterizes this plant as an annual, do you think it will survive the Houston winter and come on next year as a biennial? Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants

ANSWER:

Lets begin by using our Botanical Glossary to check out some terms.

Annual
A species that grows from seed, flowers, fruits and dies within one year's time. See also, Winter Annual.

Winter annual
An annual species that arises from seed in the summer or fall of one calendar year and completes its life cycle in the spring or summer of the following calendar year. E.g. Texas Bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis.

Biennial 
A plant that takes two years to complete the flowering cycle. Typically it grows vegetatively the first year and flowers and fruits during the second year before dying.

In this case, your Pluchea odorata (Sweetscent) may be acting as a winter annual if it survives the winter.

This is a bit confusing, but here are a couple of links that can help you understand the interesting lives of flowers:


 http://assoc.garden.org/courseweb/course2/week2/page4.htm

 http://www.proflowers.com/blog/annual-perennial-biennial-flowers

 

From the Image Gallery


Sweetscent
Pluchea odorata

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Use of hand-held seed spreader from Robstown TX
March 20, 2014 - I am planting native turf grass and prairie grasses as part of a backyard restoration on my 1.6 acre home site. My problem is good seed dispersal for the chaffey grass seeds. Have you have any luck...
view the full question and answer

Grow bluebonnets in Virginia
September 04, 2007 - I want to ATTEMPT to grow some Texas Bluebonnets in VA because I am homesick and both our kids are back in Austin. That said, the site says " it may be necessary to inoculate the soil with a rhizobiu...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
December 10, 2012 - 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 ...
view the full question and answer

Difference in acorn yields from Georgetown TX
December 27, 2012 - Why do some live oaks produce acorns in abundance and others do not?
view the full question and answer

Time to mulch without inhibiting seeds in Hitchcock, TX
March 17, 2010 - When would be the best time of year to put down mulch, if I want my native plants to re-seed? I don't want to bury the seed under mulch layers or new dirt. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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