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
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

Replacing shrubs with perennials in NY
June 29, 2011 - We removed a lot of shrubs from our back yard that had been there for many years. We now want to plant perennials but there seems to be a lot of very deep roots in the soil. The roots look dead but I...
view the full question and answer

Exotic plant/shrubs for Marietta, GA.
April 01, 2010 - Hi. I live in Marietta GA. and i am looking to add some curb appeal to my front lawn (around the border of the house). I would like evergreen plants and shrubs. I love the tropical/exotic look. do you...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native shrubs in Long Island, NY
April 17, 2009 - I would like to plant evergreen bushes (or trees)against my house facing north with no sun and growing no taller than 4 feet high. Any suggestions? I live in Coram, Long Island, New York
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of thorny shrub in Tennessee
October 03, 2013 - I have a mid to dark green thorny type bush growing on my land in Cosby, Tennessee. I am originaly from NJ and I have never seen it before. The stalk is varigated and the thorns are plentiful and very...
view the full question and answer

Hot Sunny Planter Suggestions for Florida
March 05, 2013 - We have a large, raised, concrete planter (about 15' L x 2' W) separating us from our condo neighbor in Clearwater, FL. We would like suggestions for shrubs that tolerate full sun and hot conditions...
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