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?


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

Sunday - January 31, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Brown leaves on Bottlebrush shrubs after freeze in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have Bottlebrush shrubs that have all brown leaves after the freezes that we have experienced here in central Texas. Will they be ok?


The Curse of the Common Name has probably struck again here. There is a North American native shrub, Aesculus parviflora (bottlebrush buckeye), that comes as close to what you are asking as we can find in the Native Plant Database. It is not native to Texas, but to areas in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. This University of Connecticut website has some pictures you can look at to see if that is the plant you have. If so, your plant is safe after the freeze, because it is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 4, and we got no temperatures as cold as that. 

However, we suspect that is not what you have, but rather Callistemon spp., Bottlebrush, native to Australia and therefore out of the expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It is hardy from Zones 9 to 11; Georgetown is Zone 8a, so it's possible the plant has been damaged. All we can do is give you the same advice we are giving all the other people with similar problems: It's a waiting game. Don't fertilize, make sure it's getting sufficient moisture, and see if new growth shows up in the Spring. It could even die back to the ground and then come up from the roots. 

Pictures of  Callistemon from Google

Aesculus parviflora




More Shrubs Questions

Hillside Erosion in Pace FL
July 17, 2015 - I have a hillside that slopes down about 10 feet to a spring fed pond. The pond drains into Escambia Bay. We have 2 dams with culverts to control the flow of water. Last year during a torrential ra...
view the full question and answer

Are Desert Willow Leaves Fragrant?
June 11, 2015 - I have a pink Desert Willow and have noticed that the leaves are fragrant; no flowers are yet present. I cannot find any sites that agree with this finding? Is this unusual?
view the full question and answer

Need help with my Mountain Laurel in Sugarland, TX
June 22, 2011 - Texas Mountain Laurel - My plant's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I don't know if this is caused from over watering or under watering. I have skipped days of watering to see if it will h...
view the full question and answer

Non-native dwarf palm leaves yellowing in Katy TX
March 30, 2013 - 1 month ago we planted dwarf palms, the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean we are over watering them? If so how much water do they require? Is there anything we can give them? We also have a fa...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area around pool in Plano, Texas
October 13, 2009 - I just built an in ground pool in Plano, Texas and now want to landscape around it on my own. I am curious what plants/shrubs you recommend. There will be plants/shrubs on three sides of the pool. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center