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 plants to control erosion on a hillside in Nashville, TN.
February 28, 2012 - Recently, a rogue contractor scraped all the sod off of my Tennessee hillside. Now the clay soil is exposed and washing away quickly. The hill slope is approximately 30 degrees. In the spring I'd ...
view the full question and answer

Want a ground cover instead of St. Augustine to fill in gaps in stone pathway.
November 19, 2012 - I'm considering using Silver Ponyfoot (instead of St. Augustine) to fill in the 6" gaps between my 24"x24" cut limestone blocks footpath and patio. Do they run long that may cover the blocks, whi...
view the full question and answer

Cenizo as a Foundation Plant in Austin
December 09, 2010 - We live next to the wildflower center. We would like to plant "Leucophyllum frutescens". We are hoping to use this as a foundation plant. Will it survive if planted in Dec. Please offer any tips ...
view the full question and answer

My newly planted Redbuds are not doing well.
June 24, 2009 - I ordered and received 2 Red Bud trees from one of the popular ordering houses. They explained that they were dormant and not dead, and gave us instructions on how to plant them, which we followed. Th...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Blackfoot Daisy from Lewisville, TX
April 23, 2013 - I planted a row of Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot Daisy) last spring at the front of the front yard, next to the sidewalk. It's full sun, east facing, unamended black clay gumbo soil. I put mulc...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center