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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

 

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