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Mr. Smarty Plants - Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain

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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
 

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