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

Sunday - September 16, 2007

From: hagerstown, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of non-native house plant, probably Coleus
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What would cause the new leaves of a house plant to be solid green? When I bought it, the original leaves were almost like a "tie-dye" fabric (green,yellow,orange, and red).

ANSWER:

Most house plants are non-native tropical or sub-tropical plants. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the protection and propagation of native plants, because of the economic and environmental benefits. However, we are always glad to help out with plant care, and will see if we can figure out why you're not getting the leaf colors you expect.

Although you didn't say what the plant was, we suspect from your description that it may be a form of coleus. Solenostemon scutellarioides is a southeast Asian species which has been popular as a house plant since Victorian times. It has been extensively hybridized to include most colors of the spectrum except true blue. The first clue we found to why your plant's new leaves are green is that the colors of coleus tend to be more pronounced in a shaded area. In other words, if you have it in a sunny window, try a slightly less bright area. The second suggestion is that you might be feeding it too much plant food. Excessive nitrogen will turn the leaves of most plants greener, and thus thwart the bright colors from appearing. And, finally, it could be that just the new leaves are green; as they mature they may very well begin to show their colors.

So, in summary: dim the light, cut down on the fertilizer, and increase the patience. Hopefully, those new leaves will grow up to be tie-dyed.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Hybrid Campsis radicans 'Madame Rosy' from Medina OH
July 07, 2012 - I have a Madame Rosy Campsis that is not blooming. We purchased and planted it last year, mid-summer and it did well for the remainder of the season but this year...nothing but green leaves........wh...
view the full question and answer

Planting petunias around base of oak tree from Houma LA
March 30, 2013 - I live in south Louisiana and I want to plant petunias. Can I plant petunias around the base of an oak tree?
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native boxwood in Austin
October 03, 2011 - I have a large maze garden, possibly boxwood, originally planted in the 1950's, in Austin, Texas. About 1/3 of it has died out, probably due to drought, heat and age. Should I attempt to replant ju...
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow fruit with many fingers
December 24, 2012 - This is a yellow lemon smelling fruit with many fingers. Yellow in color. Looks like an octopus.
view the full question and answer

Euphorbia 'Cherokee' leaves drying from Benson AZ
October 24, 2012 - I have a Euphorbia 'Cherokee' in a pot and has been growing nicely but some of the leaves are turning red and drying up and falling off. Is this normal for this plant?
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