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
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 Propagation Questions

Keeping a Texas Madrone alive from Belton TX
October 01, 2012 - I have found a supplier of a Texas Madrone and have been wanting to grow one ever since our family vacation to Big Bend NP. My question is how do you have success with this tree? Many people say it is...
view the full question and answer

Killing a century plant from Burton TX
August 08, 2013 - How do you kill the century plant, they are taking over?
view the full question and answer

Storing seed from Pickerel weed
October 28, 2005 - What's the best method to store seed from Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) and Arrowhead (Sagattaria latifolia)? Should it be kept wet?
view the full question and answer

Volunteer wax myrtles in Tuscaloosa, AL
August 26, 2009 - I have Wax Myrtles growing in my front yard. I have noticed that some shrubs have sprouted in my back yard that have leaves that are exactly like my wax myrtles. Can Wax Myrtles sprout from seed or h...
view the full question and answer

Reproduction of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
May 06, 2008 - What is the reproduction of a Purple Coneflower?
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