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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 20, 2012

From: Lubbock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning of Desert Hibiscus Coulteri from Lubbock, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We have in our garden this year 2 volunteer Desert Hibiscus Coulteri----quite lanky! I notice on your website under "comments" someone notes they should be cut back "nearly to the ground" to promote a bushier habit. Can you elaborate please? Should we wait til after first frost or before? Should we leave any branches showing? Can you offer any guidance? We do like this beautiful plant but we're eager to encourage bushy-ness! Thanks very much!

ANSWER:

If you follow this plant link, Hibiscus coulteri (Coulter hibiscus), to our webpage on this plant you will learn just about all we know about this plant, including that it blooms from May to November, and that it is considered a "straggling" plant, as opposed to bushy. Another comment on that page:

"This plant should be cut back nearly to the base each winter to encourage a bushier habit and more blooms. Coulter hibiscus flowers during the hottest part of the season when other plants are not showy. It is short-lived, but reseeds freely."

Acccording to this USDA Plant Profile Map, the closest this plant grows naturally to Lubbock County, in the Texas Panhandle, is Pecos County, which is in the far west Texas/Big Bend area.

For more information, here is an article on this plant from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert, which might lead us to suspect that whoever gave this the common name of Desert Hibiscus wasn't kidding. Lubbock is pretty arid, though, so we think it will do all right if you be careful that the roots are getting good drainage, do not overwater and it will probably be just fine.

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert rosemallow
Hibiscus coulteri

Desert rosemallow
Hibiscus coulteri

Desert rosemallow
Hibiscus coulteri

More Pruning Questions

Dead portions on oak tree in Hutchinson KS
August 22, 2011 - I have an oak tree on the property I just moved into. One tree is healthy, the other has a dead side or almost dead. It did have some new green leaves on the dead branches but not many. What should...
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of Bicolor Sage in Austin
February 05, 2009 - I had quite a bit of Bicolor Sage planted when my yard was landscaped. I am now wondering on the proper plant maintenance. Do I prune back and if so, how much and when do I prune?
view the full question and answer

Repairing Previous Silver Maple Pruning Damage
May 09, 2015 - I cut a limb off my silver maple wrong and now the trunk is developing a hole. What is the best treatment?
view the full question and answer

Tidying up Copper Canyon Daisies in San Antonio
March 30, 2010 - We have a small bed with 4 copper canyon daisies. We cut them back in the fall but have not pruned them during growing season; as a result they become a big tangle by September. Should they be pruned ...
view the full question and answer

When is the appropriate time to prune pecan trees in Hewitt?
September 07, 2008 - Labor Day Weekend my husband decided to trim all the low branches on a big pecan tree in our back yard which I thought should had been done at the first of the year, our temprature is in the mid 90's...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center