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
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

What about Asian Jasmine and scrub oaks?
September 01, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have several clusters of native scrub oaks in my yard. I planted Asian jasmine under them many years ago. The trees look fine, but an arborist has told me that the Asian ...
view the full question and answer

Planting a non-native Solandra nitida in Cape Town, South Africa
August 26, 2009 - How long does it take a Cup of Gold (Solandra Nitida) to flower when planted from a cutting. The site is against a North facing wall. It gets afternoon sun. Plant looks healthy and is approximately ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lavender for Texas in San Antonio
July 15, 2009 - I am looking for a lavender (English?) that will tolerate Tx summers, is evergreen, will tolerate some shade. I want to border a sidewalk with it. All help appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Seeking information on Crateeva asiatica, non-native herbal medicine
September 29, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I had a look at your website in hope of finding information about the plant Crateeva asiatica. Could you kindly help me to locate the information for the same?
view the full question and answer

Removing non-native juniperus x pfitzeriana in Arvada CO
June 25, 2009 - We have 200' of large juniper pfitzers (3' tall - 4' wide) that completely enclose our front yard. We want to remove all of them but the estimates to dispose of them have been extremely high. One...
view the full question and answer

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