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?


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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 31, 2004

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of non-native, hybrid petunias
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff


I have a beautiful Petunia Tiny Tunia Violet plant which has been flowering nicely (in sun and shade environment). Suddenly, a few days ago, it began to look like it's dying--stalks all dried out. Is this normal? I have kept it moist. Should I cut it back and will it bloom next year? It is a perennial, isn't it?


Hybrid garden petunias should be watered regularly, placed in well-draining, compost enriched soil. The plant may be responding to too much water; stem die-back like you have described is the result of a vascular problem, resulting from roots drying out from too little water, or root rot from too much water. The roots may also be affected by a soil fungal pathogen. If the roots die, then there is no nutrient and water delivery to the stems/vegetative tissue, causing the vegetative tissue to die. If the soil is remaining moist, allow the soil to dry out a bit and water sparingly. You may have to propagate vegetatively if the plant is in continual decline. You can reference this website for more information about petunia horticulture.

More Non-Natives Questions

Natural fibers for lashing bamboo in weaving
May 07, 2008 - I live in Austin and am looking for plants I can use for weaving fibers, e.g. lashing bamboo for a small project. What plants and parts do you recommend? What resources do you recommend for informatio...
view the full question and answer

Identification of non-native Nothoscordum borbonicum in Louisiana
March 26, 2006 - There were some small white flowers that grow everywhere in Shreveport and probably elsewhere. Mother called them Crows Feet. I see them if I am home in the Springtime, smell them too. Is Crow's foot...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Sago palm roots damaging house foundation from Keystone Heights FL
July 03, 2013 - Will sago palms roots hurt a house's foundation if too close?
view the full question and answer

Cuttings for non-native red-tip Photinia
April 27, 2009 - We have had wonderful fortune with red tip Photinia.We would like to expand our plantings.Can red tip Photinia be propagated by hard wood cuttings?
view the full question and answer

Different kinds of lantana in Wilmington, NC
July 19, 2009 - I live in Wilmington, NC. I spent a small fortune on three varieties of lantana--Cherry Sunrise, Ham & Eggs and Bandana Red. I live on a salt water tidal creek and most are in full sun. Some are i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center