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?

Share

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
29 ratings

Saturday - January 30, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Poisonous Plants
Title: Cutting back non-native oleanders affected by freeze in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

After the last hard freeze makes my oleanders look dead. Can I cut them down to the ground this time of year?

ANSWER:

If we may take this opportunity, we would like to remind you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Nerium oleander is native to Africa, Asia and and the Mediterranean. We realize it is widely used, but would like to point out one other characteristic of oleander that may be more important than whether it can be cut back after a frost. Nerium oleander is one of the most poisonous plants known, with all parts of the plant being toxic. Ingestion of just one leaf can cause heart attack and death. Some of the poisons it contains are cardiotonic glycoside (oldendrine), prussic acid and rutin. Skin contact with the plant can cause severe dermatitis. Burning it will release toxins that can cause intoxication. We would recommend that it be carefully removed, wearing gloves and protective clothing, bagged and disposed of properly, NOT burned nor consigned to the compost pile, where the toxins would continue to be dangerous. With all due respect, we hope they ARE dead, and that you will carefully remove everything, including the roots, to prevent their re-emergence. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Information about non-native Feijoa sellowiana (pineapple guave)
April 01, 2010 - Does a pineapple guava thrive in Austin, zip 78735? What height does it grow and what watering is needed?
view the full question and answer

Will non-native Alchemilla mollis grow in Georgetown, TX
April 02, 2011 - While living in Connecticut I had a favorite plant -- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis). Any chance I could grow it in my new herbaceous border in Sun City Texas (Georgetown, TX)?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native St. Augustine in San Antonio
May 26, 2011 - I have a large oak tree on one side of my front yard. St. Augustine grass does not grow there because of the shade. What do you recommend as a replacement for the St. Augustine? I would like to send...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Cleyera in Georgia
September 30, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I had a landscaper plant 4 Cleyera around my front porch. I have had them for about 9 years now and they are very hardy, each one being about 4 feet in width, 5 feet high ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native African violets from Mason OH
May 18, 2011 - I have had 3 african violets for at least 4 weeks. I continue to water them and have moved their location. They continue to have wilted leaves. Are they done for or is there something I can do to g...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center