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

Thursday - July 22, 2010

From: Downey, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native hybrid willows dropping leaves in Downey CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have 1 year old Hybrid Willows that are strong and 12 feet tall, with many branches. All of a sudden they are dropping their leaves in July. I got them for fast growing shade, now the branches are almost bare. Are they ok? Are they dying? Is there anything I can do? I swore they looked healthy. Thanks,


We were not sure what exactly a "hybrid willow" is, but most willows are natives of the Far East, and many of them are hybrids of non-native willows. This means they fall out of our range of expertise, which is the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown.

When we searched the Internet for  sources of information we found the iVillage Gardenweb  on Hybrid Willows. This is a forum but you might be interested in what some of the participants have to say about the willow. Also, please read this eHow site on Information on Hybrid Willows.

Frankly, we don't like the non-native willows or hybrids of same, not just because they are non-native but because they are invasive and susceptible to many pests and diseases. They grow fast but are short-lived.

Images of Hybrid Willows from Google. 


More Non-Natives Questions

Regulations for transporting plants to Texas from Florida
July 29, 2008 - We are relocating to TX from FL, I have a collection of potted palm trees and quite a few potted tropical plants (none are invasive)that I would like to bring with us, we will be traveling by car and ...
view the full question and answer

Leaves on non-native Rose Cactus
January 30, 2009 - I have a Rose Cactus (Pereskia grandifolia). The leaves have all dropped off. I was wondering if this is normal in the winter. Also, is the pear shaped fruit edible.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
July 12, 2013 - I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?
view the full question and answer

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
view the full question and answer

Roots of Savannah Holly close to house
February 26, 2009 - I live in Sugar Land and want to plant Savannah Holly at the ends of both sides of the front flowerbed. Are the roots too dangerous to plant so close to the house? (How far from the house should they...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center