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
3 ratings

Monday - June 30, 2008

From: Walnut Creek, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Decline of non-native Star Jasmine in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We just had 2 trachelospermum jasminoides planted in a redwood planter box about a month ago. We can't figure out if we are watering too much or too little but some leaves are turning yellow and there has been little new growth lately. Please help save our jasmine!

ANSWER:

The first thing that comes to mind is transplant shock, since you only planted it a month ago. This is something people overlook, as they buy a fresh, blooming plant, stick it in the dirt, and it suddenly droops. The most important thing: is there good drainage in that redwood planter? In other words, when you water, does water come out through drainage holes? Nothing will wipe a plant out sooner than standing in water. Once you've examined the drainage, here are some things to consider. The Star Jasmine, which is a native of China, needs a year or two to get a good root system going. Also, it blooms in April and May, ordinarily, and should bloom only sporadically the rest of the year. It is fully hardy in USDA Hardiness Zone 8, in a sunny location. The best we can tell, Contra Costa County, in the north central coastal area of California, is Zone 8, so it should be fine. Now, to deal with the transplant shock. Prune off the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of the plant, and trim out any crowded vines that are not looking well. This will give the as-yet undeveloped roots a little breather, with less upper growth to get water and nutrition to. Then, use a slow drip to water, sticking a hose in the planter, and just let it dribble (watching the drainage) until it seems all the soil is moist. You need to check the soil, and repeat this fairly frequently. Planters will dry out faster than plants in the ground, because they are exposed on all sides but the bottom to the air. Removing those leaves from the upper part of the plant will also help in preventing moisture loss by transpiration. Early next Spring, before blooming time, give it some fertilizer with a good proportion of phosphorus in it, to encourage blooming. And be patient!

This University of Florida Cooperative Extension website Trachelospermum jasminoides will give you more information.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Hurricane resistant alternatives to crape myrtle
September 02, 2007 - Are there any native small to medium trees (15-25 ft) to use instead of crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)? Crapemyrtles come in many colors and bend with hurricane winds instead of snapping or uproo...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
October 18, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I thi...
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Eragrostis cilianensis, stink grass
March 22, 2005 - I am writing a children's book for Darby Creek Publishing about smelly plants and animals. I have read that Eragrostis cilianensis is one of the few bad-smelling grasses. Would the purpose of the o...
view the full question and answer

Why are invasive, non-natives being sold from Hillsboro TX
August 03, 2012 - Why are nurseries allowed to grow and sell seed from invasive non-native plants like: johnson grass, bermuda grass, and king ranch bluestem? Many times when I contact a nursery or seed distributor as...
view the full question and answer

Houseplant identification
October 15, 2014 - Had a houseplant with leaves that were green on the top and purplish on the bottom. The leaves were velvety to the touch. Would like to know what it was.
view the full question and answer

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