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Indian Paintbrush

September 2010

QuestionI hope you can help me. A friend gave me a packet of Indian Paintbrush seeds . I started them in my mini greenhouse and they have begun to sprout. All I am seeing is grass growing. Is this correct? Will the actual plant start to grow once the grass takes root? Once the plant itself starts to appear, will I need to remove the grass or do I plant them together? We would like to make the Indian Paintbrush a houseplant if that is possible. We live in Philadelphia, PA. Any information you can offer is greatly appreciated

 AnswerIndian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) is a great annual wildflower which can reseed itself, but it would not make a great houseplant. Seeding of wildflowers is best done in the fall outdoors. The first seed leaves that emerge on many plants may look grass-like, and once the true leaves begin forming they should begin to look more like the leaves of the adult plant. If it continues to be grassy, you may have some grass seed mixed in with the wildflower seed. Indian Paintbrush is considered a wildflower in Pennsylvania as well as Arkansas so it should work for you outdoors.

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