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 Shrubs Questions

Transplanting and germination of Pride of Barbados in Adkins, TX
April 02, 2012 - What is the root system like of the Pride of Barbados? I have a lot of new plants coming up in my beds from seeds. Can these be transplanted to a new location easily without damaging the plants? If...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Lantanas
August 06, 2008 - Here at work we have 4 beautiful yellow Santanas(should I say had), the leaves have started to turn brown and no longer blooming. Appears to have a fungus or disease. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Time to cut back Turk's Cap in Austin
January 27, 2011 - I did not find my question answered in the database. My question is: When is the best time to cut back Red Turks Cap? I live in Central Austin.
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Texas Mountain Laurel
March 30, 2008 - Two questions: 1. My mountain laurel (10 yrs old) has never had blooms. Is this a gender plant issue? 2. I have been seeking a groundcover that grows in shade and will take foot (dog) traffic. ...
view the full question and answer

Five-eight foot hedge for north Texas
September 06, 2013 - I am looking to find a fairly large (preferably flowering) shrub / hedge to go along 100 feet of fence. The plants will be facing Northeast, but will be for the most part under the branches of crape m...
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