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
1 rating

Monday - November 30, 2009

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Esperanza with rust spots in Corpus Christi, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a young esperanza plant and the leaves have what looks like rust spots all over them. What is the cause of this and what can I do for it? My other larger and older esperanza does not have this.

ANSWER:

Without being able to actually see your plant, about all we can do is give you some questions to ask yourself about the location, soil and age of your Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush). 

We always begin by looking for pests and diseases that might commonly cause a problem and found, as so often happens, that just about every resource we looked at said this plant was resistant to pests and diseases, had none or was seldom bothered. A nice way of saying they didn't know, either. This University of Florida IFAS Extension website gives more complete information on the culture of the plant. There is always the possibility of whiteflies, aphids or scale defacing the leaves, but none of them are major concerns. And check the sun exposure: this plant requires full sun (6 hours or more of sun daily) or part shade (2 to 6 hours daily). 

We know we sound like a broken record, but the weather the last two years has been very unforgiving, heat and drought taking its toll on even hardy desert plants, which Esperanza is. You say your older plant is not showing these signs, which makes us wonder when you planted the newer one. If it was planted during the heat and drought we were still having up until mid-October, it could very well be suffering from transplant shock. In fact, research shows that plants can suffer transplant shock for up to 5 years after the original planting. Even a desert plant will need supplemental watering when there has not been sufficient rainfall, and the Esperanza particularly needs good drainage; that is to say, no water standing on the roots after it finally gets some rain, or even from a sprinkler system. 

Your plant is about to go into dormancy anyway. In Corpus Christi, it probably won't get cold enough to cause the plant to die back to the ground, but a good trimming back in early Spring will not only initiate more vigorous growth and blooming, but is also the treatment we usually recommend for transplant shock. Be sure and check the drainage; working some compost into the dirt around the roots and mulching the roots to add more heat and cold protection will also help.


Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

removing paper mulberry shoots from lawn
August 09, 2011 - Dear Mr./Ms. Smartypants, I recently moved into an Austin home with the backyard taken over by paper mulberries. There were originally 2-3 large bush/trees, but now that I've removed them I realiz...
view the full question and answer

Native buffalograss in sandy loam
April 19, 2008 - I am in the Austin area and want to plant Native Texas Buffalo Grass in sandy loam from the Colorado River bed. Will this work?
view the full question and answer

Blackened leaves on purple sage in Utopia TX
December 08, 2010 - I live in Utopia Texas and have a 5-ft. Texas Purple Sage that has developed a black appearance on the leaves. What is this and what can I do about it?
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive horsetail in Shelby Township, MI
June 19, 2009 - Please help me or direct me to who may be able to help. I have horsetail (Equisetum) invading my Blue Rug Juniper. Please tell me what I can use to get rid of the horsetail (Equisetum) without killi...
view the full question and answer

Clay hill with erosion problems in Reedsport OR
July 10, 2009 - We have a very steep 35-40' clay hill subject to erosion in the Oregon rainy season. How or what do we do to get some kind of vegetation/grass, etc to grow without washing away? We have had mudslides...
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