About Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush: Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush thrives in the southwestern region of the United States; native plantings can be found in Gila National Forest as well as Grand Canyon National Park. This species was first described for scientific records in 1858 by renowned American botanist Asa Gray, from a specimen gathered near El Paso, Texas. Indian Paintbrush is classified as hemiparasitic, meaning that it relies on the roots of nearby plants to receive some of the nutrients it needs; this does not harm other plants. Indian Paintbrush itself is a host plant for several species of butterflies in the Checkerspot family. Its stunning scarlet “flowers,” actually bracts that hide the inconspicuous true flowers, inspired their common name because they appear to be dipped in paint. The genus name Coccinea means “scarlet” while the species name “integra” means whole, since the leaves of this variety do not have the typical division of most Paintbrushes.
Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush Germination: To break its dormancy, this seed needs to be stratified; mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60-90 days before planting. In the spring, plant the seed on the surface of loose soil at the base of a larger plant. Since Indian Paintbrush is hemiparasitic, it needs a “host” plant to aid it in receiving necessary nutrients from the soil. For fall planting, sow untreated seed on the surface of loose soil near other plants, or sow a low-growing native grass along with the Indian Paintbrush seed. This plant seems to grow well with Penstemon, as well as various native, low growing grasses and sedges. Germination may be slow and irregular. Transplanting is not reccomended. This plant prefers sandy or average soil, but also adapts well to rather moist soil with good drainage.
Growing Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush Seeds: This plant develops rather slowly and will not bloom until its second year. Since seedlings are very sensitive to drought, water them evenly and regularly during their first season; mature plants may also need occasional watering, though they do tolerate some drought. This plant will wither and die once its seed has been produced, but volunteer seedlings may grow from dropped seed. Indian Paintbrush attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. These plants are rather difficult to grow in the garden, but make a lovely addition to prairie plantings or native meadows.
Harvesting Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush: This rare wildflower is best displayed in the garden or prairie, where it will develop seed to preserve its growth for future generations. Keep in mind that its leaves are highly toxic.
Saving Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush Seeds: Small pods will form at the tops of the stalks. These pods will split and release their seeds when dry, and should be harvested before that point. As soon as the pods begin to feel dry and start to turn color, remove them and spread them out to dry. Thresh the dried pods to remove the seed. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush Info: Origin: US Native Wildflower Other Common Names: Orange Indian Paintbrush, Southwestern Paintbrush, Foothills Paintbrush, Squawfeather Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 12-18 inches Spacing: 9-12 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4a-7b Seeds Per Oz: 250,000 Produces narrow, downy, whitish leaves and stems topped by clusters of spiky three-lobed bracts of bright red.