En Español

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

Tuesday - August 03, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Will non-native gazania bloom in winter?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am quite familiar with Gazania and l-o-v-e it as a summer plant. My question is: while I know it may/will survive the winters here, will it actually be blooming during the coldest months here in Austin? I work in west-ish Austin and there is a proposal on the table to use Gazania "Kiss Orange Flame" as our winter bedding plants, rather than pansies. I am fairly sure they will not bloom all winter because we are on the edge of their "perennial-status zone" and the person that signs my paycheck wants me to confirm my suspicions. Can you enlighten me? Do you know if they will bloom all winter here in Austin? Thanks,

ANSWER:

Frankly, we have two problems with recommending Gazania rigens for Austin. The first problem is that it is not a native to North America, including Texas , but to Africa. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we recommend only native plants. The other problem is that we saw no indication that they would bloom all winter. There are very few plants that even pretend to bloom year round. Since the gazania is an annual, it has to allow time in its bloom cycles for blooms, followed by seeds, and then it usually dies. As you pointed out, this plant is only hardy to Zone 8b, south of Austin, and loves hot, dry summers, which we won't be having in January. For more information, from Old Fashioned Living, here is a site Growing Bold and Brilliant Gazanias.

As far as that is concerned, pansies are non-native also, and the ones you buy in the Fall have probably been propagated in greenhouses, and will certainly die if they are exposed to very cold weather and/or snow, etc.  And under no circumstances would Mr. Smarty Plants ever recommend that anything, native or non-native, would bloom at a certain time or stay in bloom under certain conditions. Sorry.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Cutting back non-native oleanders affected by freeze in Austin
January 30, 2010 - After the last hard freeze makes my oleanders look dead. Can I cut them down to the ground this time of year?
view the full question and answer

Elaeagnus sudden death in Waxahachie, TX
May 11, 2015 - I live in North Central Texas and have eleagnus planted along my fence in full sun. Last year one dropped all it's leafs and died. The same is happening to one beside it this year. I have sprayed ...
view the full question and answer

Aphids in non-native crape myrtles in Austin
August 19, 2009 - What is the least toxic way of getting rid of aphids? They are on a crapemyrtle and I do not think it will hold up to really forceful water spray. Due to the drought in Central Texas, our St. Augus...
view the full question and answer

Hurricane resistant alternatives to crape myrtle
September 02, 2007 - Are there any native small to medium trees (15-25 ft) to use instead of crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)? Crapemyrtles come in many colors and bend with hurricane winds instead of snapping or uproo...
view the full question and answer

Information on various plants from Alamo TX
November 15, 2009 - Have you heard of the following plants: Butterfly Iris,Compact Nanpina, Red Dwarf Turks? I would like to know some details on the above plant: size, flowers?, drought tolerant, where to plant Thanki...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center