En Español

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 09, 2009

From: Woodland Hills, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Leaves falling off a hibiscus twice a year in Woodland Hills CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 8 hibiscus bushes and only 1 of them loses its leaves twice a year. Why?

ANSWER:

There are 12 species of Hibiscus native to North America, of which 3 are known to grow in California. It doesn't really matter though, because you almost undoubtedly have one of the many hybrids, and/or imports from other countries. Both the hybridization and being non-native would put them out of our area of expertise, but we can ask you some questions which, when you answer them, could give you a clue to what's going on.

1. How many times has this hibiscus repeated this behavior of dropping leaves twice a year? If it was once, it may have been the result of some change in its environment. If it has happened multiple times, you need to look at where it is growing and how it is growing.

2. What sun does it get? Hibiscus can grow in a little shade, but they do best in full sun; that is, 6 to 8 hours of sun a day. 

3. Is the plant in question growing in the same area as the other 7? If not, what is different about where it is, as opposed to the others? Again, soil moisture, sun, even accidental exposure to a pesticide could have caused the leaf drop.

We found a website called "About Hibiscus", Hibiscus Care, that seems to have the most information on this plant. Read it and compare the conditions considered optimum for hibiscus with the conditions of the plant you are concerned about.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a children's playground
April 20, 2015 - We have extensive native gardens on our 2 acre property, but my children want a garden of their own with plants they can hide under and that are good for imaginative play. Are there any native plants...
view the full question and answer

Dog-safe Privacy Screen for Ocala, FL
June 25, 2015 - Am desperately searching for fast growing privacy that would be non toxic to dogs in Ocala, Florida (zone 9 I think). Wanted Leland cypress but due to toxicity it won't work.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Texarkana, TX
March 31, 2011 - I've been searching for a dependable list of attractive north east native plants, for gardens, landscaping, etc. Specifically, native flowers and shrubs.
view the full question and answer

Native plant for border in central coastal Texas
September 29, 2015 - I am looking for a native plant suggestion for a border along my front porch in central coastal Texas. My site has heavy gumbo soil and strong sunlight. I want something not more than 2 or 3 feet t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center