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

Friday - June 24, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Propagation, Shrubs
Title: Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 w/ tabasco sauce and water and that stopped them. Will it harm the rock roses if I spray them w/ tabasco sauce and water? Or is there a better way to deter them?

ANSWER:

We don't really have any idea if tabasco sauce would hurt the roses, but we have another idea. Try deadheading the flowers off your bushes as soon as the bloom begins to droop and create the seed pods. You won't get any seeds, of course, but you probably are not getting any now. The squirrels, like the other wildlife that we share Central Texas  with, are suffering from the heat and drought and looking for sustenance wherever they can find it. If you are interested in propagating the rock rose, you can't gather seeds until they turn brown, by which time the squirrels (and the seeds) will be long gone. However, Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock rose) can also be propagated by taking stem cuttings. Here are propagation instructions for that method:

"Pavonia can also be propagated from softwood tip cuttings. Take cuttings in spring before plant starts to bloom, or on nursery plants kept cut back. Cuttings with big buds or blooms are at a disadvantage. They root and grow fast in hot weather. Cut a stem three to six inches long, just below the node. Remove all but the top leaves and place in vermiculite."

Since the Rock Rose is not a "true" rose, but a member of the Malvaceae (mallow) family, it is only woody at the base. The softer branches above are no match for the squirrels, but if the seed pods are never allowed to develop, maybe the animals will give up and go away. Or, maybe it will rain, and the normal diet of the squirrels will return, whatever it is. We thought they just ate acorns and nuts, but apparently they have adjusted to our difficult conditions.

 

From the Image Gallery


Rock rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

Rock rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

Rock rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

More Propagation Questions

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Kalmia latifolia
November 19, 2007 - How easy is it to propagate Kalmia latifolia from seed?
view the full question and answer

Invasive native blackeyed susans from Warren OH
August 07, 2013 - In our demo garden we master gardeners in NE Ohio have been unable to get rid of black-eyed susans which have, like the other person, prevented or "killed" the other perennial plants. They are spre...
view the full question and answer

Planting orange-flowered asclepias in Austin
March 15, 2011 - I have asclepias seeds of the orange flower variety and would like to plant them. What should I do for the best success, and how long does it take for them to come up?
view the full question and answer

Germination period for Snow Mountain beardtongue (Penstemon purpusii)
March 12, 2008 - Why is the germination period for the Snowmountain Beardtongue so long?. I understand it to be approximately 690 days.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center