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

Sunday - June 05, 2005

From: Danville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Desmanthus and Chamaecrista seeds
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello my wildflower specialist friend. I got 20 Desmanthus illinoensis and also Chamaecrista fasciculata seeds. Then I planted them in early March, when there was still frost, in clayish soil, not far from woods where they'll get 2/3 of a day of full sunlight. However, now it is the middle of May and they haven't come up at all. Do you think something is wrong? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Desmanthus and Chamaecrista seeds have extraordinarily hard seed coats. The characteristics of their seed coats are adapations that help ensure the survival of the species through climatic extremes. You will probably see only a few if any seeds germinate the first year -- even with some scarification. You are likely to see more germination next year and even later. Plants produce many, many seeds to help ensure their survival. Most seeds simply don't survive to make mature plants. Any number of diseases, microorganisms and insects feed on plant seeds and seedlings. There are just many things that can go wrong during a seeds journey to maturity. It is possible that some or all of your seeds have been victims of predation or some other malady. Having painted a rather dark picture, I will say that both of the species you are trying to grow can be spectacularly successful when conditions are right. If you have placed your seeds in a good growing environment for them and the seeds are viable, you are likely to be rewarded for your efforts.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower garden with Castilleja indivisa (Indian paintbrush)
January 08, 2013 - I want to start a wildflower garden in my front/backyard. Specifically, I would like to include the indian paintbrush. What is the best way to go about this? Straight in the ground, containers, etc...
view the full question and answer

How far do Bluebonnet seeds go and what is it called from Hutto TX
April 27, 2010 - How far do Bluebonnets throw their seed and what is it called? THANKS!
view the full question and answer

Backyard bluebonnets in Georgetown, TX
August 09, 2009 - I am growing bluebonnets in my backyard in Georgetown, TX. Even with the drought, I have had blooms all summer and still have two plants blooming. Is this normal? Thanks for all the work you all do ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers of April wedding in Liberty Hill TX
September 02, 2015 - We are planning a wedding for April 9 in Liberty Hill, TX (78642) and live on several acres. We would like to plant wildflowers on the land to use for bouquets and centerpieces. Could you please recom...
view the full question and answer

Getting started in gardening
September 16, 2006 - Does the center publish any or several planting guides to help gardeners get started? I find it is overwhelming understanding where to start. I have some lake property in East Texas close to Athen...
view the full question and answer

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