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
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 Watering Questions

Transplanting a non-native rose from Akron OH
August 30, 2012 - Can I transplant a rose plant that I have in sunny area to an area that will be partially shady?
view the full question and answer

Shriveling and dying of non-native impatiens
July 14, 2008 - Several years now many of my impatiens after a month or so seem to shrivel up and eventually die. They are planted in a row and not all are affected. I am not noticing any slug evidence which I would...
view the full question and answer

Effect of epsom salts and gray water on plants
December 04, 2007 - We live in Phoenix where water is a precious commodity. We have decided to use as much of the gray water as we can for watering our garden, shrubs and trees. One of the suggestions we heard about w...
view the full question and answer

Watering a Montezuma Cypress in Spring Branch, TX
July 11, 2013 - Live near San Antonio, and have a Montesuma Cypress, 15 ft tall. Great soil. Planted in April, should I keep it moist??? The foliage is getting brown.
view the full question and answer

Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 - Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, 'Tifway 419' bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana...
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