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
2 ratings

Sunday - March 28, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Esperanza failing to bud out in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted esperanza shrubs last summer and they did well. I did not prune them back in the winter. They are not showing any signs of life (No greenery) Will the plants start to form leaves and flowers or are they gone?

ANSWER:

From our Native Plant Database on Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush), we got this information which might explain what has happend to your plant:

"Plants native to the southwestern US and adjacent Mexico are Tecoma stans var. angustata, which is shorter, more drought-tolerant, and more cold-tolerant than some of the tropical varieties sold in nurseries."

Since nurseries often do not put the scientific names of their plants on the labels, you have no way of knowing if you purchased the more tropical version of the plant, which could have been killed by our very unusual and early cold snaps. However, all the information we could find on the Tecoma stans var. angustata, mentioned above was virtually identical to that of the Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush). Yellow Bells is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to10; Georgetown, in Zone 8b, should have been safe even with the freezes. The only other indication of what might be the problem is that you planted the bushes in the summer. Woody plants should usually be transplanted in the Fall or late Winter when they are still semi-dormant. How did your plant look when it was newly planted? If it showed signs of wilting or dying leaves, it may be suffering from transplant shock.

We suspect that, indeed, you have purchased a tropical version of this plant and it may not have survived the cold. However, do the thumbnail test on the plant; scrape a thin layer of bark off the higher branches. If there is no green layer beneath that bark, work your way down. If you find that green layer, there is still some life in the plant, and it will possibly leaf out later. Do not fertilize-it is a plant in stress, and you should never fertilize a stressed plant. However, keep it watered and give it some time. If you find no green up high, but do find some down low, we would recommend trimming back the dead material. Since it begins to bloom in April and blooms until November, if it shows no signs of coming up from the roots in the next couple of weeks, we would say it is a lost cause.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Problems with Savannah Holly plants in Friendswood, TX.
June 17, 2009 - I have planted 4 savannah hollies in front of my house, two on the left of the door and two on the right. If you are standing in front of my house and looking at the door, the sun rises at the back l...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering and fertilization of whiteleaf manzanita
July 27, 2007 - Hi, I have an Arctostaphylos Dr. Hurd, southern California coast, several years old, 10 feet, that has a few large branches with yellowing and spotted leaves... also dropping many. causes? remedy? sh...
view the full question and answer

Curb appeal for sale of house
December 16, 2007 - Help! We're selling our house soon and need to redo our flowerbeds in the front of the house (facing north, gets partial sunlight throughout the day) in the coming weeks but don't have a clue where...
view the full question and answer

Weak flowering on rosa minutifolia from San Diego CA
July 27, 2013 - Hi, I have a Rosa minutifolia and has been doing great, but when it gives flowers the petals fall too fast, only last a day or two and also the fruit never forms completely and finishes drying so I ca...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Hamelia patens, Firebush
June 23, 2006 - I have a Hamelia Patens (Fire Bush) it says it will grow to 12 feet high and 5-6 feet across. Can I keep pruning it to about 5 feet without damaging the shrub?
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