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

Tuesday - February 07, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Other
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Problems with propagation of Indian Paintbrush (Castileja indivisa)
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are growing Indian Paintbrush. I have 2-300 seedlings. They were sown with fescue and have grown beautifully. Now they are approximately 4-6 inches high, a few have bloomed and many seem to be dying out. Can you share any information on keeping them growing and healthy until spring when they can go outside. They are in a 30% pearlite mixture. How do I keep them growing and go about transplanting them without losing them. It is sad to have lost any after all this time.

ANSWER:

The paintbrushes Castilleja sp. have been called "harder to establish than any other wildflower" by Howard Garrett, (Plants for Texas) and impossible to transplant by Sally & Andy Wasowski, (Native Texas Plants). Since it is believed that the paintbrushes parasitize the roots of grasses and other plants (e.g., bluebonnets), you have done the correct thing by sowing your seeds with fescue. There are several possibilities for your problem with the paintbrushes but I don't think we can give a definitive answer as to which of these it might be. The possibilities are: water stress, both too little or too much—or too little and too much; soil-borne disease or insect predation; soil pH issues; or simple dormancy could be occurring.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Time to mow bluebonnets from Smithville TX
April 12, 2012 - When is the best time to mow the seeded Bluebonnets? I have them and Drummond Phlox in my front yard. I need to clean and trim to start pulling the large numbers of Purple Hooked Sandburr.
view the full question and answer

Late-blooming flowers for Northeast PA
May 12, 2007 - We have a weekend house in Northeast PA...Poconos. Pretty rocky terrain....when can we plant wildflowers? Is it too late to plant in late May? If so, when is best? What variety do you recommend fo...
view the full question and answer

Where can white prickly poppy be viewed en mass from Baton Rouge LA?
January 16, 2013 - Does the center feature the native White Prickly Poppy? When is prime blooming season? Can you give me some specific locations in the area where the plant can be seen en mass and photographed? Thank...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Wildflower Meadow Gardening
September 16, 2005 - Good morning! I want to overseed a buffalo lawn that has been down for about a year with a wildflower mix, how would you recommend that we prepare the site.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting wildflowers before construction begins
September 23, 2004 - Can wildflowers be transplanted? I'm building a house and wonder what can I save before the builder clears the lot.
view the full question and answer

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