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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 09, 2011

From: Riverton, WY
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Planting
Title: Can a hibiscus survive in Wyoming?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can a hibiscus survive in Wyoming if it is taken care of properly? If so, can you tell me how to make it happen?

ANSWER:

You might be able to grow a hibiscus in a pot, bring it in during the winter, and see if it would come back up in the warm weather; in other words, treat it as an annual. There are 12 members of the Hibiscus family native to North America, none of which is native to Wyoming. We did, however, look at the 12 native hibiscus in our Native Plant Database and found Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf rosemallow) which grows as close to Wyoming as Nebraska, and as far north as Minnesota and Ontario.

From our database, we got this information about Halberdleaf rosemallow:

Native Distribution: Moist low-lying areas from North Central Texas to the Edwards Plateau.
Native Habitat: Marshes

and

Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous

And therein lies the rub. Acidic soil tends to occur most often in areas where deciduous trees and conifers have been dropping their trees/leaves for centuries and that organic material has decomposed to form an acidic soil. Why its native habitat is North Central Texas and the Edwards Plateau we can't say, because those are mostly alkaline soils, which we are also thinking you might have in Wyoming, as does a great deal of the Western United States.

In this  Floridata aticle we found another comment on the habitat of this plant:

"Hibiscus laevis occurs naturally in swamps, marshes, ditches and along water bodies in eastern Canada and central and eastern U.S., south to northern Florida and Texas."

Now, you asked us how to make it happen. You can't make a plant, even if it's well adapted to where you have it, grow and persist. If you can buy this or a closely similar hibiscus in your area, we suggest that you get one, and give it a one year's trial. It is deciduous, so you can plant it in the ground, let it die back, trim down the stems leaving a few so you know where your plant is, and then start watering it again as the weather warms. Don't fertilize until it is time for it to begin leafing out again, and don't use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, because that inspires more leaf growth and less blossom. You will be running an experimental laboratory on what you can grow in Wyoming.

 

From the Image Gallery


Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

More Planting Questions

Propagation information from Queens NY
October 04, 2012 - Hello. I would appreciate information on when to plant the following plants. I found on the USDA website that all these plants could withstand the cold. ALthough they can withstand harsh weather, ...
view the full question and answer

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

Planting times for aquatic plants from Winston Salem NC
July 12, 2012 - I need to know the correct time of year to plant the following pond plants Swamp Rose Mallow, Southern Blue Iris, Soft Rush, American Bur-reed, American lotus, Woolgrass and Duck Potato Is it better...
view the full question and answer

Flowers for sandy soil and sun in Wharton Co., TX
March 23, 2010 - I live in Wharton County. I am looking for flowers to plant in beds that have sandy soil and are well drained. The area receives sun all day until 5-6 in the afternoon. I would like to have flowers t...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bluebonnets to garden from Columbus TX
January 30, 2014 - Is it possible to transplant bluebonnets from pasture to garden and if so when is the best time to do this? Thank you
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