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
2 ratings

Thursday - March 26, 2009

From: Abilene, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Propagation, Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At some point it would seem that they will need to be removed.

ANSWER:

The funny thing about Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow), also called "Texas Star Hibiscus" is that, while it is native to the Southeastern United States from Florida to Mississippi, it is not native to Texas. At some point, someone in the nursery trade decided it would sell well with the name "Texas Star" and it has done so. That has nothing to do with your question, we just think it's amusing. Anyway, yes, go ahead and remove those stubs. We're a little surprised they have persisted. We always cut ours back in the fall, leaving the stub to identify where the plant is, but it usually just sort of disappeared after the new plant came up. Our suggestion is to start by giving the stub a gentle tug, rather than digging it out. Hopefully, it will break off, or just come up with vestiges of its old roots clinging to it. Digging out the stub could damage the developing roots of the new season's plant that is beginning to emerge. If you really want to clean up the area and make a new start, this plant can be propagated by root division. Since it is a late starter and does its blooming in the late summer, now would probably be a good time to do that. In doing so, you would be able to easily separate out the dead stems and roots, clean up any litter around the planting area, and perhaps throw in a little fertilizer (not high nitrogen lawn fertilizer, as that inhibits blooms), maybe some compost and you will likely have a whole bunch of vigorous new plants. 


Hibiscus coccineus

Hibiscus coccineus

Hibiscus coccineus

Hibiscus coccineus

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Black-eyed Susans in potting soil on ground
November 12, 2010 - I would like to know if black eyed susans can be planted in just potting soil instead of mixing it in with dirt from the ground? I don't want to leave it in the pots. I want to plant it, but the grou...
view the full question and answer

Spreading compost from Kyle TX
January 22, 2012 - I'm trying to find if there is some type of "implement" to help spread compost in my yard that is easier than a shovel and rake. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
July 19, 2011 - Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
view the full question and answer

Oyster Shell source in Austin
September 18, 2015 - Hi, I was not sure who to reach out to, but I work for Quality Seafood here in Austin, and we have several gardeners who take our old oyster shells and grind them up or put them in their gardens for ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive bermudagrass from Memphis TN
August 17, 2012 - I live in central Memphis and have well-drained clay soil. I have converted much of the front yard from turf grass to beds of native plants, which survive our hot humid without supplemental watering e...
view the full question and answer

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