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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 30, 2009

From: Campbellton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Watering
Title: Problems with tomatoes in tubs in Campbellton, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have my tomatoes planted in big black plastic tubs, they are starting to wilt and dry up. I have put Sevin dust on them for bugs. I haven't been over watering. Could you please tell me why they are dying?

ANSWER:

Lycopersicon esculentum, tomato, is native to South America, a member of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade, family. Since its early cultivation by prehistoric natives of South America, it has moved northward through Mexico and is one of the most hybridized of all plants. Both of these facts remove them from our area of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Although the tomato plant is out of our field, we would like to mention that planting anything in the summer in Texas in black plastic is dangerous, in terms of the soil heating. That black plastic really conducts the heat into the soil, and plants are accustomed to being grown in soil kept cool by the insulation of all the earth around it and sun only hitting the surface. That's just a thought, we have no expert proof, but we know we have fried plants we left in the black plastic from the nursery in the sun. 

For some help from some experts who actually know what they're talking about, read this website from Cornell University Horticulture by Stephen Reiners, Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Tomatoes.  Another good article is from Northern Gardening.com Growing Healthy Tomatoes by Terry L. Hockey.  In terms of spraying the Sevin on the plants, have you seen and identified any bugs on your tomatoes? Read this article from Living With Bugs.com Sevin (Carbaryl) Insecticide.  Before you fix something, find out what the problem is. 

 

More Watering Questions

Cedar trees dying in CO
July 18, 2011 - We have mature cedar trees at the home we bought in SW Colorado. The large ones have begun to die. Can too much water kill a cedar tree and is there anything I can do to keep them alive?
view the full question and answer

Decline of indoor lemon cypress
June 25, 2008 - I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lambs ears wilting in heat from Fredericksburg TX
October 19, 2011 - 3 days ago I had professional landscaping done in an area with plants that tolerate heat & sun well. We planted 7 healthy, large lambs ear & mulched. Everything planted is doing well except the lambs ...
view the full question and answer

Care of Live Oaks
July 11, 2012 - We have Two Young Live Oaks in the front of Our home. We had them treated for insects, ect. Now what can we do to make them Full Green and Happy Happy Happy again.Thank You
view the full question and answer

Why do the leaves of my potted Esperanza plant look droopy?
August 13, 2009 - My Esperanza plant leaves look droopy. I have it in a big pot and have for 3 years.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center