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

Blocking dust from a road in Sturgis MS
September 20, 2012 - Please let me know what Trees/shrubs will help block dust from dirt road.
view the full question and answer

Spots on leaves of Esperanza from Dallas
May 30, 2012 - Have a new 1 foot high Esperanza. It is flowering OK (so far) but it has small rust colored spots about the size of a B-B all over most of the leaves. On the top side of the leaf the spot is depress...
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

Darkened leaves on blueberry bush
July 02, 2008 - I have a blueberry bush planted in a very large pot. It has been doing very well, producing berries and new growth. All of a sudden the leaves have begun to turn dark. I have it potted in good soil...
view the full question and answer

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

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