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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Esperanza failing to bloom in Odessa TX
September 01, 2009 - I have 3 Esperanza plants that have not bloomed this spring/summer. I live in Odessa, TX. We had about 5 inches of rain in July in one week (very unusual), but they have not bloomed-before or after. ...
view the full question and answer

It's so hot, even the Salvia greggii are sad, in Bulverde Texas
July 28, 2011 - I have several Salvia greggii in large terra cotta pots. The leaves have developed a yellowish tint and are thinning. What is the best process to get them back to full green foilage?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for heavy dog traffic in Huntsville TX
July 23, 2010 - We have recently moved to Huntsville, TX where our backyard is very shady and has only a small patch of St. Augustine grass and the rest is a dry, sand-like soil. We also have 2 Great Danes and 2 Pugs...
view the full question and answer

Area needing soil amendment in San Diego
December 02, 2009 - I have a dirt area in the corner where my fence comes together. The dirt is clay-like and during the winter the area gets very little, if any, sun and during the summer it gets 4-6 hours of sun. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting adventitious shoots of a mountain laurel in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - Is it possible to transplant branches (shoots) growing from a mountain laurel that was chopped down? Some are two years old and several feet tall (but not yet blooming) and some as small as a foot. ...
view the full question and answer

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