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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - August 13, 2009

From: Sulphur, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Why do the leaves of my potted Esperanza plant look droopy?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My Esperanza plant leaves look droopy. I have it in a big pot and have for 3 years.

ANSWER:

Esperanza is a widely-used trade name for Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush), also known as Yellow Bells. It is a native of West Texas and northern Mexico, and is accustomed to dry soil and little water.

You have been growing the plant successfuly for three years, so the appropriate question to ask is what has changed? Watering pattern? Amount of sunlight? Too much ferti;izer?

Your plant's leaves may be droopy, but chances are that the root of the problem is in the roots. The plant could be getting too much water, or it could be getting too little water, or it could be root bound in its present pot. There are of course other possibilities, but lets start with these.

Overwatering the plant can eliminate the air spaces in the soii, and the plant essentially suffocates from lack of oxygen. Esperanza is adapted to dry conditions, so watering every other week should be sufficient. Let the top of the soil become dry to the touch between waterings. In the case of root bound plants, the roots have occupied the entire volume of the pot, limiting the supply of air and reducing water holding capacity. This Weekend Gardener site tells how to recognize a root bound plant, and explains how to repot the plant.


Tecoma stans

 

 

 

 

 

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