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?

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
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

Wednesday - November 12, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Pale leaves and brown tips on Tecoma stans in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Tecoma Stans planted in a large galvanized container in a sunny spot. It has grown very fast in the last few months and flowers regularly, but the leaves are pale and the tips are turning brown. Any ideas of what could cause this?

ANSWER:

Okay, quick now, do you have drainage holes in that galvanized container? If you don't, the roots of that Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) may be in serious trouble. This plant is a desert plant, used to limestone-based soils, and growing on hillsides, slopes and canyons. If there is any water, the roots will greedily drink it up, but they don't tolerate standing in it. 

From an article "Focus on Plant Problems" from the University of Illinois Extension:

"Chlorosis is a yellowing of leaf tissue due to a lack of chlorophyll. Possible causes of chlorosis include poor drainage, damaged roots, compacted roots, high alkalinity, and nutrient deficiencies in the plant. Nutrient deficiencies may occur because there is an insufficient amount in the soil or because the nutrients are unavailable due to a high pH (alkaline soil). Or the nutrients may not be absorbed due to injured roots or poor root growth."

More information from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Iron Chlorosis Signals Problems indicates that often the trace mineral missing and causing chlorosis is iron. If you planted your Tecoma stans in potting soil, it should be balanced and not be causing the chlorosis problem. If, however, you dug up native soil for the plant, it could be too alkaline even for the alkaline-tolerating Yellow Bells. Iron chelates are organic compounds containing redily absorbed iron, and may provide a temporary solution to the problem. 

Yellow Bells is a good container plant, but it needs to be a big enough container to provide sufficient room for the roots, and it needs to have drainage. 


Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Hearty, bushy native plants for windowboxes in Abilene, TX
October 08, 2005 - I live in Abilene, Tx and am a horrible gardener. I would love to have window boxes with some sort of hearty bushy plant. Any suggestions, I'm at a total loss...? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
view the full question and answer

Native sun shrubs and perennials to replace St. Augustine
June 06, 2008 - Hi, I live in Austin and I'm removing the St. Augustine from the southwest side of our house. This area gets intense sun all afternoon, and I'd really like to use a combination of native shrubs and...
view the full question and answer

Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
June 06, 2012 - We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.
view the full question and answer

Further information on soil pH for growing blueberries
December 31, 2008 - Thank you for your reponse to my question / comment. You were exactly right about soil pH. Here is what Clemson University Extension has to say about growing blueberries in North and South Carolina....
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center