Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Non-native and/or hybridized shrubs in Pittsburg PA
May 17, 2011 - I planted 2 boulevard cypress pom pom trees last year in my front yard in the clay conditioned soil. We dug the tree holds according to the planting instruction and filled some sand in the bottom for ...
view the full question and answer

Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
May 07, 2012 - We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
view the full question and answer

Growing Texas mountain laurel in a pot
March 07, 2016 - I have a really good friend who Mom pass away just recently and they were the best of friends. She loved her mother dearly and did tons of stuff together. Recently I posted a picture of a Mountain L...
view the full question and answer

Viburnum insect damage
October 08, 2009 - I have a highbush cranberry that gets covered in 1/4in black bugs every spring. It makes lots of holes in the leaves. What are they and how can I get rid of this insect.I have tried neem oil but it do...
view the full question and answer

low-growing evergreen shrubs for thin soil
March 05, 2012 - Thanks to the winter freeze, we'll be starting fresh with the plants in the bed along the front of our house. The bed is about 13' long and faces the west, so it gets afternoon/ evening sun but no ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.