En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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

Monday - August 11, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rain Gardens, Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Growing Texas star hibiscus in Central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hi there, I purchased a beautiful Texas Star Hibiscus that I want to plant in my yard. Unfortunately, my yard being in Travis Heights, I hit a lot of caliche when digging. To plant some other native trees such as wax myrtles, I hired a professional to dig through the caliche and plant them. However, since the hibiscus is a shrub (only expected to grow to about 6 feet), I'm trying to figure out what the best way to plant it is. How deep do I need to dig? In other words, for a 6' shrub, how long do the roots grow? Also, what do I need to do to counter the alkaline pH that this caliche introduces? Any tips will be appreciated! Thanks! Jay.

ANSWER:

The Hibiscus coccineus (Scarlet rosemallow), or Texas star hibiscus grows wild in damp or even marshy places.  Although it can survive dry soil you would be well advised to dig a generous hole (3-4 ft in diameter and 2 ft deep) and fill it with rich garden soil with sulfur, aluminum sulfate or other soil acidifying addition.  This will prevent the plant from contacting the caliche that it would not like.  As advised in this web site, provide ample water and good drainage.  To achieve maximum bloom, plant in a sunny spot.  You should have good success.

 

More Planting Questions

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Lilac bush roots dangerous to house foundations
August 06, 2008 - Are lilac bushes dangerous to the foundation of a house? There is a lovely white-blooming lilac that grows against the house outside my bedroom window. My ex-husband said that the roots would destro...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a male Southern Wax Myrtle in Newport News, VA.
August 20, 2012 - We are looking to add more southern wax Myrtles to make a hedge row with them. We already have one in the ground that is a female. I have called around to see if anyone sells the male but i keep get...
view the full question and answer

Plantings of Castilleja in Texas
April 04, 2012 - I am a graduate student interested in studying different species of paintbrush (Castilleja) in Texas. I understand that the Texas Dept of Transportation has been seeding wildflowers along Texas highwa...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center