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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 15, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native tropical hibiscus in Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How to care for a tropical hibiscus plant? How much water, sun, fertilizer? I am novice gardener in Houston, TX. From much reading, April seems to be the month I cut all blooms and let the plant lie dormant. Please help, I am confused.

ANSWER:

Since you are a novice gardener, we invite you to read our How-To Article A Guide to Native Plant Gardening. Tthe Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown, so the Tropical Hibiscus would fall out of our range of expertise. 

There are 13 members of the Hibiscus genus native to North America, 11 native to Texas and two, Hibiscus lasiocarpos (rosemallow) and Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow) native to the Harris County area. Those, however, are not what you could ordinarily refer to as "tropical" hibiscus. You likely have a hybrid of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, probable origin tropical Asia, much cultivated and hybridized.  You can follow the plant links above to the pages in our Native Plant Database on the Hibiscus native to Harris County, and may learn the answers to some of your questions. We would also refer you to these websites that are NOT confined to natives and have a great deal of information:

Gardening-guides.com Hibiscus: Tropical and Temperate

The Tropical Hibiscus - A Brief History

The American Hibiscus Society

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Hibiscus lasiocarpos

Hibiscus lasiocarpos

Hibiscus laevis

Hibiscus laevis

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Freeze damage to non-native Sago Palms in Red Rock TX
April 19, 2010 - I have 4 beautiful large sago palms in my rural Texas yard. All 4 have been damaged by several hard freezes this winter. All fronds are brown, with a little green at base of inner fronds. Are they ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native impatiens from Charlottesville VA
June 09, 2011 - Question about type of impatiens. My Alabama mother grew these and called them touch-me-not. They grow about 2 feet tall and blooms grow UNDER the leaf canopy up the stem. Colors I have are pale pink ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for pygmy date palms in Spring, TX
April 15, 2010 - We live in Spring, Texas and the front door of our house faces East. Last winter we lost both of our beautiful pigmy date palms! We are trying to find "unique" accent plants for our front entry. D...
view the full question and answer

Comments on previous answer on non-native invasives from Raleigh NC
March 27, 2014 - https://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=7827 This answer is incorrect. Please have someone review it to remove the two invasive species you are encouraging people to plant by calling them nati...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center