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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 16, 2010

From: Ackerman, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants, Deer Resistant
Title: Non-native Indian Hawthorn and Abelia resistance to deer from Ackerman MS
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I recently landscaped my yard. I have a large variety of bushes and trees. They have been planted for about a month. Yesterday, while out in the yard, I noticed that about half of my Indian hawthorn plants were missing all leaves. Some of the glossy abelia was missing leaves also. The question is will the hawthorn and abelia come back out this spring after having a large amount of the foliage eaten by deer. Will they be ok?


The first question we need to ask is: Are you sure that deer damage is what has caused the disappearance of leaves on your plants? Do others in your neighborhood have problems with deer? Have you actually seen them in your garden? We are asking these questions because there are other things that could have caused the problems you are citing. If you are convinced it is deer damage, you could Google "deer resistant plants" and will find several sites with lists of plants and species that are more or less attractive to deer. All will explain that in times of drought, over-population or loss of habitat, deer will eat just about anything that can't get away. Contact the Mississippi State University Extension Service for deer resistance information for your specific area.

Both Rhaphiolepsis indica (Indian hawthorn) and Abelia x grandifloria (Glossy abelia) are native to temperate and tropical Asia. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown, so these non-natives are out of our range of experience, nor would either appear on our Deer Resistant Species list.

Since we can't give you much help, we suggest you look at some websites on your plants, like this Clemson University site Indian Hawthorn and one from University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Glossy Abelia. You should note that both plants are considered semi-evergreen and since just about every part of the country has had weird cold weather, the leaf drop may have been quite normal. Also, you say the plants have only been in the ground about a month, and they might be suffering from transplant shock. If you just purchased your plants and brought them home, it may have been in a stressed condition from the way it was being cared for at the nursery. It could have been in the pot for so long that its roots were wrapped around in the shape of the pot, and are possibly strangling the plant. When you purchase a commercially potted plant, always lift it out of the pot to see if it is rootbound.  If the plants were professionally planted, we would suggest you go back to the landscaper and ask for help from them.


More Non-Natives Questions

Damaged non-native weeping willow in California
August 16, 2008 - I have a weeping willow that has no leaves and branches seems to have turned brittle. I don't see any bugs or burrows on the tree. The type of willow I have is very common in this area, although I'm...
view the full question and answer

Aphids in non-native crape myrtles in Austin
August 19, 2009 - What is the least toxic way of getting rid of aphids? They are on a crapemyrtle and I do not think it will hold up to really forceful water spray. Due to the drought in Central Texas, our St. Augus...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native Betula pendula
July 03, 2008 - I live in Puyallup, Washington. I purchased and planted a weeping birch on June 21, 2008. For the first few days all seemed well and the tree seemed to be settling in to its new home. Less than e...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum)
June 07, 2005 - How do you care for an Easter Lily once the flowers have fallen off?
view the full question and answer

Pronunciation of non-native mutabilis from Austin
April 11, 2010 - How do you pronounce the rose name, "mutabilis"? Some friends say "mu TAB ilis" and others say "muta BIL is". Which is it? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center