En Español

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

Thursday - July 17, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Blossom fall after rain on Polystachys lutea, Shrimp Lollipop
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in San Antonio and had previously bought shrimp lollipop plants and after the rain we had recently all the blooms fell off. So my question is did it die or should I just leave it alone?

ANSWER:

You had rain in San Antonio? What's going on? In Austin we can't get a break, or a drop, it seems. Anyway, sorry your plant was displeased with the rain. That does seem a little strange, as you usually consider rainwater to be the best moisture. However, on this PlantCare.com site on the Shrimp Lollipop plant (Polystachys lutea), we learned that it is most frequently treated as an indoor plant, since it is a tropical from Peru. And this site warned that the soil in the pot should be moist, but to be careful about watering with rainwater, as the water might be acidic. Another source warned not to water the plant with water that has been through the water softener, as the plant dislikes salt.

Don't treat the plant like it's dead, but try treating it as though it has transplant shock, which it very well may, although you didn't say when you bought it. It could have been already suffering from shock when that rain hit the blossoms, and they were knocked off. Apparently, in proper conditions, this plant can bloom nearly year-round, so a little extra care would probably be worth the effort. Trim off about 1/3 to 1/2 of the upper part of the plant, leaving as many leaves for nutrition on the lower part as possible. Don't fertilize-never fertilize a plant under stress. Keep the soil evenly moist, and maybe it would be better to avoid overhead watering, as with a sprinkler system, until you get a little better handle on the situation. If it begins to recover and shows signs of budding or blooming again, you might give it a little fertilizer that has a higher proportion of phosphorus (the middle number on fertilizer designations) to encourage blooming. Since this plant is a non-native to North America, it will not be in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database, so we can only give you experience from others who have grown the plant.

 

More Transplants Questions

Possible transplant shock in Red Oak in Albany, TX
October 20, 2015 - We planted a new tree last spring which we were told was a Texas Red Oak. The soil where it was planted is hard clay. We have had a watering bag on it and have watered an average of 2x per week throug...
view the full question and answer

Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
January 16, 2010 - My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?
view the full question and answer

Volunteer bluebonnets in Farmville VA
May 17, 2010 - I have two small Texas bluebonnet plants that came with no instructions as to how to plant them regarding soil or sun. Everything I read has to do with seeds, can you please help me? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Ash and non-native Bradford Pear in Hutto TX
January 27, 2011 - We have planted two trees in our back yard. The first one(a Bradford Pear) died and the second one (a Texas ash) doesn't look like it's doing very well. Our back yard is mostly black clay about 1 f...
view the full question and answer

Decline of non-native Star Jasmine in California
June 30, 2008 - 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 the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center