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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 07, 2006

From: Vienna, Austria, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Propagation
Title: Sapindus drummondii or Rhus aromatica for Austria
Answered by: Dean Garrett


Hy! I'm from Austria/Europe, and interested in some North American native plants specially. It would be great if you can help me with my two questions: Sapindus drummondii I read from different sources that it should be hardy to zone 6A. Is this true? And does it apply in general or just for northern origins? Do you know a seed source for Sapindus drummondii from regions with cold winters? Rhus aromatica: There are female and male plants, right? Can they be indentified before they reach blooming age? Sap.drummondii and Rhus aromatica: At what age do they bloom first? Thanks for this great service!


As a representative of an organization dedicated to the promotion of native plants, I should first caution you that plants introduced into new regions have the potential to become invasives that over time could crowd out plants native to your region. Soapberry trees, for instance, tend to form groves once they become established, and sumacs have berries that many birds love, potentially causing them to spread far beyond their original planting site.

Western Soapberry, now known as Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii, is hardy to Zone 6A, reaching as far north as the southern half of Kansas and southwestern Missouri. Only those individuals from the northernmost reaches of the plant's range are likely to be able to withstand Zone 6 temperatures. For seed sources, go to our National Suppliers Directory's Seed Companies feature and enter Kansas or Missouri as the state or province. A list of potential seed sources will appear for you to contact.

Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) does tend to have male and female flowers on separate plants, but the growers I contacted said they know of no way to identify gender on plants too young to flower.

Both plants should bloom in their second or third year, though this varies by region and local environment.

More Propagation Questions

Reproduction of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
May 06, 2008 - What is the reproduction of a Purple Coneflower?
view the full question and answer

Volunteer wax myrtles in Tuscaloosa, AL
August 26, 2009 - I have Wax Myrtles growing in my front yard. I have noticed that some shrubs have sprouted in my back yard that have leaves that are exactly like my wax myrtles. Can Wax Myrtles sprout from seed or h...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Mexican buckeye from seeds in San Antonio
October 02, 2009 - I recently collected seeds from a Mexican buckeye. Is it best to plant them now or wait until spring? Do they need to be scarified?
view the full question and answer

Deadheading Asclepias tuberosa in Fishers IN
August 19, 2009 - My Asclepias tuberosa plants are flowering well in their second year and also have formed many seed pods. Since I don't need the seeds, will they bloom more if I remove them or is it unnecessary?
view the full question and answer

Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
June 24, 2011 - Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
view the full question and answer

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