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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 27, 2010

From: Brownsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Red sister Cordyline problems in Brownsville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought a Red Sister Cordyline plant but once the leaves grow they dry from the ends.

ANSWER:

"Red Sister" is no doubt a trade name for Cordyline fruticosa (tiplant), native only to Hawaii and certainly not to Brownsville.  This Floridata article on Cordyline fruticosa will give you some general information; apparently it is usually a house plant. 

From the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, some suggestions from a contributor:

"There are a couple of things you could do to help your plant, and the first one is to reduce the fertilizer. You probably won’t need to fertilize it again until next year. If you notice white stuff on the soil surface, then water is not flushing through properly and minerals are building up. Put the plant in the bathtub, or outside somewhere in the shade (direct sun will burn the leaves), and water it well until the water comes pouring out the bottom drainage holes. This will help get rid of some of the extra fertilizer and keep it from burning the roots. Do this once or twice in the next couple of weeks, and your plant should be fine. You may also want to mist the leaves on a regular basis to help keep humidity up, as this can help prevent browning on the leaf tips and edges." 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cordyline fruticosa

Cordyline fruticosa

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Understory plants for Tuolumne Co., CA
May 14, 2007 - My driveway is lined with purple plum trees. I would like to grow something underneath them. What can I grow that will not harm the root system/health of the trees?
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
March 12, 2009 - Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?
view the full question and answer

Hybridized Indigo Spires having problems in Wimberley, TX
August 19, 2010 - I planted 7 Indigo Spires from one gallon containers in May and now each plant is about 18" tall. 4 of the 7 fell over about 2 weeks are. The plants still look healthy with no dropped or curled leav...
view the full question and answer

Prairie and wetland restoration in Nebraska
July 20, 2007 - We recently bought property south of Crawford,NE near the Pine Ridge area. It has been grazed by horses for years. We'd like to restore the native grasses and flowers. I have no idea where to begi...
view the full question and answer

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