Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Monday - November 09, 2009

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native cuphea in Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have about 8 Bat Face Cupheas and I am having trouble with them. First, instead of mounding 360 degrees, the branches all grow forward (they do bloom well). They're in full sun, about 3 feet out from a wall. What could be causing this? Second, I live very near Houston, when and how should I trim them?

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the care, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Cuphea llavea, bat-faced cuphea, is native to Mexico, which we do not at present include in our North American Native Plant Database. From Magnolia Gardens, here is some more information on Cuphea llavea.

Since we don't have any information on this plant in our database, we'll try to make some suggestions that might help. First, this is an annual, so trimming it back in the Fall will not be necessary. If it has seeded out, or you have harvested seeds to plant in the Spring, you will have more plants next year. As for growing all in one direction, this is usually the result of not enough sun, and the plants will reach toward the sun. You say it is in full sun, but we regard "full sun" as 6 or more hours of sunlight daily. If other plants or your house are casting shade on the plant during some of that 6 hours, that could be what is causing the problem. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Taking stock in where and what you grow in Denver Colorado
December 22, 2011 - I have two year old stock plants growing in a container in my home and they are finally starting to bloom. However, the buds open but don't produce any petals. Also they are experiencing yellow leave...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Center work on non-native, invasive Bastard Cabbage from Austin
March 20, 2014 - Still have cabbage weeds that infiltrated Austin awhile back. How did Wildflower Center resolve it?
view the full question and answer

Seeds for India from Guilderland NY
August 15, 2010 - I have Green Cross “Non Profitable” trust in TamilNadu India. We are looking for free seeds from Government and other NGO foundations. Moto: Global Vowing awareness program and our volunteers help ...
view the full question and answer

Care for some non-native salvias from Austin
November 12, 2012 - Mexican bush sage and Salvia "indigo spires" are both blooming in my Austin beds right now. Once they stop blooming and/or frost gets them, could you tell me by how much they should be cut back? R...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native privet in Austin
November 15, 2010 - My 2 privet shrubs/bushes facing the east in a shady area seem to be have less leaves and dead flowers, while across a walk way that 1 privet shrub/bush has lots of green leaves with lots of dying flo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.