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 Rain Gardens Questions

Bioswale for Indianapolis
September 13, 2009 - The city of Indianapolis has a very historic Central Canal, which was built in the 1830s. Due to erosion, the parent company of Indianapolis Water, Veolia, has proposed covering the banks with a type ...
view the full question and answer

Rain garden plants for NC
April 19, 2010 - I have a small creek at the back of our property, it's normally dry except when it rains. Builders removed the natural plants and left it bare. What native plants could I plant in it to bring it bac...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a bioswale in Baltimore
July 22, 2009 - What native plants would suit a bioswale in an urban part of Baltimore City? The clay soil gets waterlogged and the site has part shade.
view the full question and answer

Pond Plants for Eureka Springs AR
May 16, 2012 - I have a 1 acre pond that we are cleaning up. This area will be used for recreation and fishing. We plan to put native rock around some of the edges and need perennial plants that do well in rocky are...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a ditch in PA
June 09, 2012 - I have a property in the suburbs about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, PA. There is a small creek running across the property. The "ditch" holding the creek is about 5 feet across, but the creek i...
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