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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.

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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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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!

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Wednesday - August 26, 2009

From: Cape Town , S. Africa
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Planting a non-native Solandra nitida in Cape Town, South Africa
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How long does it take a Cup of Gold (Solandra Nitida) to flower when planted from a cutting. The site is against a North facing wall. It gets afternoon sun. Plant looks healthy and is approximately 4 years since planted. It is protected from southerly winds and is within two kilometers from the coast.

ANSWER:

We're always pleased to hear from gardeners on another continent but, unfortunately, we can't help you, or at least not much. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, and home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The Solandra nitida, also called Cup of Gold Vine or Chalice Vine, is native to Mexico, Central America and South America. Plants from those areas do not appear in our Native Plant Database and are out of our range of expertise.  We did find this website from Top Tropicals that has some information.  It is hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10 to 11, which means in areas which have an annual average minimum temperature of 30 to above 40 deg. F. The very southern tips of Texas, Florida and California might accommodate it, or it would have to be brought in as an indoor plant in cool weather. We understand it also grows in Hawaii, which is almost overrun with non-native plants, and it can apparently be quite invasive if it is growing in ideal conditions for it. You might try the UBC Botanical Forum, which caters to plant questions from around the world.

Pictures of Solandra nitida from Google. 

 

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