Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 23, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens
Title: Planting plumereia and bird of paradise palm outside in Austin
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I have a plumeria and a bird of paradise palm in pots that I want to place in the ground. I've seen plumeria's planted in the ground at a house leading to Bryan College Station that seem to have been planted for awhile. I live in Austin, TX and would love to plant these two in my backyard. I really do not want to hear "No you cannot", but how to help it survive the winter. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

One reason Mr. Smarty Plants is all about promoting the conservation and use of native plants is that they come pre-adapted to survive in their native environment. Here is what you would have to do to grow these non-native tropicals in Texas.

When temperatures dip into the low 40's Plumerias may be stored in their containers or uprooted carefully trying to take as much root as possible and stored over winter in a garage where temperatures are kept above freezing. As soon as temperatures rise outdoors they can be brought out and planted again.

Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) will tolerate temperatures as low as 24°F for a short time. However, temperatures at freezing or below may damage developing flower buds and flowers. There is always a chance of losing a season of blooms during a severe winter. You can ensure blooms every year by moving them indoors when freezing temperatures are expected.

 

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Hot Sunny Planter Suggestions for Florida
March 05, 2013 - We have a large, raised, concrete planter (about 15' L x 2' W) separating us from our condo neighbor in Clearwater, FL. We would like suggestions for shrubs that tolerate full sun and hot conditions...
view the full question and answer

Do plants grow faster in natural or artificial light?
March 13, 2009 - Do you think plants will grow faster in natural light or artificial light or a combination of both? And why do you think that. and need your answer for my biology project please and thank you for your...
view the full question and answer

Pill bugs in potted plants in Atlanta GA
June 14, 2013 - Hello, I repotted four aloe vera plants two days ago with a cacti soil and watered them thoroughly in terra cotta pots according to directions on the bag. Well the next morning the pots had pill bug...
view the full question and answer

Replanting a blue agave in Rio Rancho NM
January 11, 2010 - I have acquired a Blue Agave, approximately 4-5 ft high. It still appears quite healthy. It was used over the holiday season for display purposes in a liquor store. Unfortunately, the root ball has be...
view the full question and answer

Planting time, either by acorn or container grown tree, of Shumard red oak
April 12, 2006 - Hello, I have a question on when is the best time to plant shumard red oak. I live in Zone 7. thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.