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

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

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Native Substitute for Boxwood in Llano, TX
March 28, 2011 - I love boxwood because it's evergreen & provides a great backdrop to my flowers w/o taking over the bed. However, I'm trying to stick with native plants, so can you provide a native alternative to b...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shaded area in East Texas
July 23, 2013 - I live in East Texas and have an area that is shaded most of the day - it only gets sun in the middle of the day but it is direct. What would be best? I would prefer something that won't freeze, bu...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
May 21, 2013 - I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
view the full question and answer

Is the fruit of American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) edible?
March 22, 2012 - I am trying to find out if the "American Beautyberry" or "French Mulberry" fruit is edible? Can you tell me? Your website's information about this plant has been the most informative informatio...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center