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

Monday - July 21, 2008

From: Weslaco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they died. They were not in standing water but close to it. We live at the south tip of Texas.


We are sorry to tell you your poor plant drowned. Esperanza is a widely-used trade name for Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush), also known as Yellow Bells. It is a native of West Texas and northern Mexico, and is accustomed to dry soil and little water. It is also a tender perennial, and can suffer significant damage if the temperature drops too far. However, as Hidalgo County is in Zone 11, in the South Texas Plains, it should be fairly reliably evergreen. What it cannot withstand is wet feet. Possibly if the plants had been a little older and more well-established when the rains came, they might have been able to survive. As it was, the water on the roots of your plants was simply overwhelming. Even though you could not see standing water, you can bet it was there. Possibly you have clay, poorly-draining soil, which always aggravates the problem when you have a plant needing good drainage. Our suggestion, if you want to try again on this plant, is to first prepare the holes where you want to plant them by amending with compost or other humus to counteract the clay. Or, if the original location was one where water often collects, perhaps under the eaves of the house, another spot would probably be more beneficial. This plant is well worth the trouble.

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Yellowing leaves
May 06, 2008 - What causes yellowing of native garden plant leaves?
view the full question and answer

Information about growing mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora)
November 15, 2008 - I live just outside of Austin on 10 acres. I have several very large mountain laurels on my property that I planted from containers. Mine flower profusely every year. I feed them bi-weekly and wate...
view the full question and answer

Problem With Vegetable Garden Soil
June 09, 2013 - We live in Liberty Hill on 25 acres and we are working to restore native grasses and plants. We are ardent supporters of the Wildflower center. I say this because my question is not "typical" of wh...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pavilion over fountain in Washington State
December 26, 2008 - I have a tall fountain in a 7 foot square which is surrounded by pavers. Inside the 7' square there is about a 2' mulched soil bed around the center fountain and an iron type pavilion that goes up h...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering Texas Mountain Laurel from Rosanky TX
June 06, 2012 - I just read your article in the Statesman about over watering Mt.Laurel. Now I know why my lovely 15 year old tree is dying. We put in new grass this winter and I watered too much. Is there any hop...
view the full question and answer

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