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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - July 14, 2006

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Transplant shock in non-native Mexican Ruda
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I hope that you can help me. I planted some Mexican Ruda in a large pot. Planted it in good soil. The plant is not doing well. It's droopy and drying out. I watered it every other day. It is in the sun most of the day. Can you please tell me what is wrong. Thank you very much.

ANSWER:

Mexican Ruda or Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a native of southern Europe that has been imported to North America as an ornamental plant and for its medicinal properties. It is known for its ability to tolerate hot, dry conditions.

Transplanting the rue has probably shocked its roots—there is too much top for the roots to support. You need to remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the top of the plant to give the poor plant a chance to get through the transplant shock. Once established, it will put on new growth.
 

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