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

Friday - June 26, 2009

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native hibiscus in Buckeye, AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have been having problems with our hibiscus plants. They are planted near 3 queen palms behind our pool. All were planted new three years ago. Early in the spring we had two just suddenly start drying up and within two weeks were totally gone. When we pulled them up there was just a root ball. We had done nothing different. They were getting water. We fertilize the palms, but it says it's OK for hibiscus too. Now we have three more that started drying up, with one of them being a new one that we replaced. How can they be good for two summers and then start dying off when we are doing nothing different? Please help.

ANSWER:

Due to the large volume of questions, we ask that you please limit your questions to topics related to North American native plants.

There are about 300 species of the genus Hibiscus, a few of them native to North America. However, the natives are all found in the South and Southwest portions of the United States. The hibiscus is considered a tropical plant, hardy in Zones 8 to 10. We suspect that what you have is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis with a probable origin of tropical Asia, and therefore out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We are focused on the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Plants native to an area will be accustomed to the environment, including the climate, rainfall and soils, and require less water, fertilizer and maintenance.

When any plant that has been performing well suddenly begins to fail, you have to ask what in the environment has changed.  These plants are ordinarily grown in greenhouses, shipped in protected, usually refrigerated, trucks, and then sold from greenhouse showrooms. At some point your plants discovered the real world, and it was not satisfactory to them. It could be the soil, alkaline or acidic, maybe the fertilizer, perhaps sudden changes in temperature. 

For some leads to the answer you need, go to Hidden Valley Hibiscus Tropical Hibiscus Care

 


 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Searching for Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana (copperleaf)
April 06, 2015 - Some species of Acalypha are natives, but the one I'm looking for is Copper Plant or Acalypha amentacea/wilkesiana. Can you give me a source where I can order seed? When I was kid working at a local ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native Senna bicapsularis from Ocean Springs MS
April 04, 2013 - I have 4 Senna plants (cassia bicapsularis) that I planted late last spring. They about 3-4 feet tall but are very gangly with leaves at or near the tips only. How should I prune them to encourage g...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Pittosporum
August 05, 2005 - Need to know if "PITTOSPORUM" (TOBIRA VARIEGATA) will grow in my area of SE OK. I have purchased two of them and the nursery said that they would do great. Just needed an extra opinion. Than...
view the full question and answer

Thorns on non-native orange trees in Greenwell Springs, LA
April 26, 2009 - Navel orange tree has thorns, why is this?
view the full question and answer

Replanting of non-native Christmas Palm from Sarasota FL
November 28, 2012 - Do you know of a proven technique to plant a Christmas Palm in a built-in concrete pool deck planter box - using gravel around the soil root ball to delay the root bound condition we just ripped out?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center