Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Thursday - July 09, 2015

From: Bayside, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Growing Alopia drummondii from Seed
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Can you give me information about, or a resource for, growing Alophia drummondii (propeller plant) from seed? I have the seed but don't know when & the best method for planting?

ANSWER:

Alophia drummondii (Propeller flower or prairie iris) is a member of the iris family and grows from a corm.

Growing from a corm, the prairie iris is 1–2 feet tall and is usually unbranched. It has leaves 1 1/2–2 feet long by 1 inch wide. Most of them grow from the base and are conspicuously veined, clasp the stem directly at the base, and are folded (pleated) for most of their length. The flowers grow in a cluster at the end of the stem and open one at a time for several days in succession. They are cup-shaped to flat. The 3 outer tepals are spreading, about 1 1/2 inches wide, light to deep purple; the 3 inner tepals are dwarfed, cupped or crimped, and usually a deeper purple. The inner portion of the tepals is yellowish, spotted with reddish-brown.

Online, I found a couple of tidbits that might help with your seed germination quest. From the Pacific Bulb Society forums ...

The first season germination is very bad. They must have some protective mechanism to keep them from germinating the first season. What reason that is I have no idea.

Late last summer I was looking along the road to town and up in the brush at the edge of the forest line I saw two seed pods. They looked like A. drummondii pods to me but I am not sure. They were growing in heavy shade and I took some seed. I am eager to see if they were in fact A. drummondii or not, but I guess it will be a couple of years before I know.

Here they are fall winter spring with blooming spring and dormant in the summer. Though the timing of the rains have a big part to play in the blooming time.

Justin, Woodville, TX 8b/9a

There is a lot we need to know about this species in the wild, other than it grows in acid sandy soils. Alberto Castillo

And in information online from the book, Seed Germination Theory and Practice by Norman C. Deno, Alophia drummondii were subjected to 3 months of 70 degree temperatures, 3 months of 40 degree temperatures and 3 months of 70 degree temperatures. 1/6 germinated in the 3rd week. This is a very informative book if you want to delve deeper into seed germination.

 

From the Image Gallery


Propeller flower
Alophia drummondii

Propeller flower
Alophia drummondii

Propeller flower
Alophia drummondii

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Soil Loosener/Pollinator Plants for Houston
August 11, 2014 - I am trying to establish a mostly-native pollinator way-station in a recently purchased lot in a 100 year old neighborhood in Houston. Much of the property has a thick layer of oyster shell four to si...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Flame acanthus from Bastrop TX
February 17, 2012 - My flame acanthus never lost leaves off the bottom tier of branches this winter. With the brief warm weather and rain we've had, the top and middle tier of branches have all re-leafed. It is very l...
view the full question and answer

Need plants for new wrought iron planter in Spicewood,TX.
April 10, 2012 - I live in Spicewood, Texas, and have just purchased some really nice wrought iron window boxes for my patio railing. What would be the best and prettiest plants to use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
July 04, 2014 - Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question ...
view the full question and answer

Arisaema triphyllum and Phlox stolonifera native to Pennsylvania
April 03, 2008 - I asked and you answered my question about PA wildflowers. I have two more questions: is jack-in-the-pulpit a native PA wildflower? and is creeping white phlox a native PA wildflower?
view the full question and answer

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