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?


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

Tuesday - December 06, 2011

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Problems with non-native Canary Date Palms from Miami FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hi: The fronts of my canary date palm, which I planted about 6 years ago, has been getting brown from the bottom of the tree and working itself towards the top for the past several months now. The browning starts from the tip of the leaves and move towards the middle of the front. There are only a few live fronts left. I need your help with first identifying the problem and telling me what I can do to save this beautiful tree. Please get back to me soon. Thanks.


Since Phoenix canariensis, Canary Date Palm is native to (surprise!) the Canary Islands, it falls out of the realm of experience of Mr. Smarty Plants. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the place in which they are being grown. We understand that they do pretty well in South Florida, so we are going to refer you to some websites that may give you the information you need:

Canary Island Date Palm

Florida Palm Trees

Dave's Garden

The gist of the information we are getting from this is that this palm is very sensitive to cold, and needs to have its trunk wrapped most winters. Since there are apparently quite a few of these trees in your area, we suggest you contact the University of Florida Miami-Dade County Extension Office. If others in your area are experiencing the same problem, the Extension Office should know and be able to recommend what to do.



More Non-Natives Questions

Death of non-native eleaegnus from Austin
March 30, 2013 - We have a long hedge of elaeagnus, about 5 ft tall. Four of them died in the middle of the hedge. Where can we find such big plants? Is it advisable to unroot and transplant from another area?
view the full question and answer

Gift plant for a new arrival in Texas.
December 09, 2009 - To Whom it May Concern, I am writing to you from Sydney, Australia. My sister is moving to Texas and I wanted to give her a native plant as a present. Is there anyway I could arrange that with you, or...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of non-native Selenicereus Antonyanus from Warwick RI
March 24, 2012 - I just purchased a Selenicereus Anthonyanus, Rick Rack Cactus unrooted. I have searched on the web of the proper way to root the plant and have had no luck except it says easy rooting but not how to r...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock for non-native Plumbago auriculata
May 19, 2008 - I planted some full plumbago plants that were in containers, in a partially shaded area, they had beautiful flowers when I purchased them, but have since lost them all and the plant is looking very wi...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native razzmatazz rose from Canton MI
April 26, 2010 - I have 5 "hardy" rosebushes called "Razzamatazz" which are about 3 years old. I don't know how to prune them properly. I do cut the dead bloom back just before the "leaf of 5", which seems to...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center