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

Yellow, pale green leaves on Cedar Elms in Texas
August 30, 2008 - I have had several cedar elms of various sizes planted in our yard over the last 10 years. Only the largest has dark green, healthy looking leaves. All the others have yellowish, pale green leaves. Th...
view the full question and answer

Is cement leaching into flower beds in Colorado Springs?
May 16, 2009 - I have posed this question to a number of garden centers in our area around Colorado Springs--only to rec. a repeated--"Gee, I don't know." When we moved to our new home there was a rock concrete ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Can oak pollen be composted?
April 28, 2015 - I have quite a few live oaks in my backyard and my flower beds are filled with pollen stuff. Can I compost and mulch over this or is it a good idea to rake as much as I can out first?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a bioswale in Baltimore
July 22, 2009 - What native plants would suit a bioswale in an urban part of Baltimore City? The clay soil gets waterlogged and the site has part shade.
view the full question and answer

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