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
1 rating

Friday - February 19, 2010

From: Richmond, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Indian Hawthorn in Richmond TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a lot of Indian Hawthorne plants. I have noticed over the last couple of years that sporadically one will develope a brown area that looks like it was burned or had gasoline poured on it. The branch will eventually spread this brown and die. It is a very slow process initally and then when it spreads it goes very fast, eventually killing the entire plant. I have noticed this problem on hawthorne's in almost every location around town (Houston Texas) since I first saw this in my plant(s). No one can tell me what it is. There are no bugs, scale, mold, etc. It just starts dying on a single branch and then spreads. I have had "experts" tell me it is everything from wood worms to dogs urinating on them. Any guesses?


Rhaphiolepsis indica, Indian hawthorn, is a native to China, Taiwan and other tropical areas in Asia. At the  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are focused on the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Because this is out of our expertise and, of course, not found in our Native Plant Database, we found a website with some information on the plant for you. Floridata, Rhaphiolepsis indica indicates that it is very susceptible to leaf spot fungus if grown in shady conditions or over-fertilized. You should avoid overhead watering, such as sprinklers, especially at night. Beyond that, you might try Googling on Rhaphiolepsis indica and see what other information you can find. We have actually heard of experts saying the Indian Hawthorn is more trouble than it is worth, and don't recommend planting them at all. 


More Shrubs Questions

Pruning of non-native Senna bicapsularis from Ocean Springs MS
April 04, 2013 - I have 4 Senna plants (cassia bicapsularis) that I planted late last spring. They about 3-4 feet tall but are very gangly with leaves at or near the tips only. How should I prune them to encourage g...
view the full question and answer

New nursery plants with sappy spots from Round Rock, TX
September 09, 2012 - We live on the west side of RR, near Cedar Park and recently bought three 15 gallon cherry laurels from a nursery. Started to plant them today as we bought them a week ago and noticed base of the trun...
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for native perennials in Staten Island, NY
April 03, 2008 - My back yard garden has a good base of evergreen shrubs and perennials all doing well in clayish soil and I am ready now to add color and texture in an area with partial sun. Can you suggest hardy...
view the full question and answer

Red buckeye not blooming in NY
July 04, 2011 - I planted my red buckeye in September 2007 and it was about 18 inches tall. It is now a few inches short of 5ft. tall. I have had it in the ground for nearly 4 yrs and it has never bloomed. I have fr...
view the full question and answer

Chlorotic Texas Mountain Laurel in Benson, Arizona
May 04, 2014 - I've planted a Texas Mountain Laurel in heavy clay soil in Arizona. It's been in place for 3 years and flowers each spring. However it's leaves are a shade of medium, yellowish green nothing like t...
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