DOWNY PAINTED CUP Castilleja sessiliflora
Castilleja sessiliflora is a species of flowering plant in the broomrape family known by the common names downy Indian paintbrush and downy painted cup. It is native to the Great Plains of North America from southern Canada, through the central United States, to northern Mexico. It occurs as far west as the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
This perennial herb produces one or more stems up to 35 centimeters tall from a woody root crown. It is hemiparasitic, obtaining water and nutrients from other plants by tapping their roots. Grasses and sedges makes good host plants. Plants should be planted at the same time, or if the host plant is already established the seeds can be scattered at the base of the plant if the lower part of the plant is slightly bruised (knife works well).
This plant grows in several habitat types, including prairie, shinnery, Texas savanna, and shrubsteppe.
Type: Hardy perennial
Height: Up to 39cm, 16"
Hardiness zones: 3-9
Seeds per pack: 30
Germination: Grasses and sedges makes good host plants. Plants should be planted at the same time, or if the host plant is already established the seeds can be scattered at the base of the plant if the lower part of the plant is slightly bruised (knife works well).
As with many perennial seeds, these seeds require a period of moist cold to help them break dormancy. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.
If you are planting your seeds in late winter or spring, these seeds can be planted outdoors while it is still cool out (once the ground is workable and unfrozen), to receive the cold period naturally in the garden.