Indian Paintbrush

Castilleja indivisa (Indian Paintbrush)

Life: Annual or Biennial
Size: 6-12″ tall
Light: Full to Partial Sun
Water: Moist, Well-Drained
Soil: Sandy, Tolerant
 

 

Famous for its flush of color along Texas roadsides in spring, Indian Paintbrushes are a popular native plant. The brilliant red, orange, or sometimes yellow bracts conceal the tiny true flowers, forming blooming spikes 3-8″ long. Hummingbirds enjoy visiting them as well. They are very easy to grow; simply sow them in the fall so that they will be mature by their spring bloom. They tolerate a wide range of soils, including those which are constantly moist and well-drained and those which are normally dry and sandy but are moist in the springtime. One of the reasons they can thrive in poor soil is that their roots are somewhat parasitic; they will grow until they touch another plants roots, at which point they will penetrate them and steal some of the nutrients. It makes a wonderful complement to the native Bluebonnet.