Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 22, 2013

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Shrubs
Title: Will watering before a freeze protect an esperanza from a freeze from San Angelo, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would it help to lightly water esperanza before I cover it prior to freeze and/or sleet?

ANSWER:

Esperanza is one of the common names of  Tecoma stans (Yellow bells). Since you called it that, we are thinking that perhaps you purchased it from a nursery that did not specialize in native plants. From our webpage on that plant (which you can read in full by following the weblink above):

"Conditions Comments: North American native varieties of this species can survive winters within their natural range but may die to the ground during especially harsh winters even there. Varieties sold in nurseries may be from tropical stock and not do so well in US cold. Yellow bells is drought tolerant and Southwestern varieties are adapted to monsoon rains with dry spells between. They may flower better if such conditions are emulated in planned landscapes, so allow ground to dry out between waterings. It is tolerant of confinement if containers are at least 12 inches in diameter and thus makes a good potted specimen."

As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map for Tecoma stans (Yellow bells), it does not grow natively in Tom Green County, TX. Since it is a drought tolerant plant that prefers dry soil, we would not recommend putting extra water on the roots. However, spreading a good quality mulch on the root area (without touching the trunk) will help to protect the roots against cold. As mentioned above, this plant may die to the ground in a harsh winter, but if the roots are protected, the whole tree has a better chance of survival.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Optimum planting time for perennials and trees
November 02, 2007 - Our group is running out of fall workdays. Is it OK to plant native perennials and small trees in Central Texas during the winter months? Or should we wait now until the spring?
view the full question and answer

Native flowers and plants for landscaping in March in Austin
February 18, 2004 - What are the best flowers and plants to landscape with in the Austin area in March?
view the full question and answer

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Aster ericoides in Philadelphia
March 20, 2010 - Should I cut back my Aster ericoides, ‘schneegitter’ in the spring?
view the full question and answer

Wintering of non- native jasmine in Newton KS
September 18, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I received a gorgeous jasmine for mothers day and I planted it in my front yard in the flower area close to the house. Can I keep it there all winter or do I need to dig it up a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.