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

Identification of native blackhaw or non-native ligustrum in Austin
January 16, 2005 - I have a native tree in my yard, ca.15-20 feet tall, that has glossy, rounded dark leaves and small clusters of dark purplish berries. (It also has very weak limbs - perhaps grows too fast for its ow...
view the full question and answer

Plant replacements for non-native invasives in Austin, TX
April 20, 2007 - I live in Austin, TX, I have a large lot and small house. I want to do some selective planting on the back half of my lot. Currently there are large live oaks, cedar elm. hackberry, cedar, Texas persi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
May 01, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
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