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?

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

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
1 rating

Wednesday - October 24, 2012

From: Benson, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Euphorbia 'Cherokee' leaves drying from Benson AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Euphorbia 'Cherokee' in a pot and has been growing nicely but some of the leaves are turning red and drying up and falling off. Is this normal for this plant?

ANSWER:

The closest we could find to the plant you asked about is Euphorbia x martinii 'Cherokee.'  The little "x" in there indicates this is a cross with some other plant, which we couldn't identify, and the 'Cherokee' is a trade name. There are 17 Euphorbias or Spurge in our Native Plant Database but the cross or trade name would not be included. We tried to find an Euphorbia  from our database that would be close but all  the information on the Internet that we could find were ads, which of course extol the good qualities of a plant and don't mention problems. For instance, here is an ad from Plant Delights, Inc. from which about all the information we got is that it was sold out.

Since we could find out nothing substantial about the non-native hybrid you have, we thought we would have a try at information on some of the natives in our Native Plant Database. There are 7 members of the Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) native to Arizona. For our example, we chose Euphorbia cyathophora (Wild poinsettia), which happens to be a favorite of ours. Follow the plant link to our webpage on that page, and see if you can find any clues in the growing conditions that correspond with the problems you are having. Under Plant Characteristics on our webpage, we did note this sentence:

"Leaf: The upper or bracteal leaves usually red toward the base."

Perhaps that addresses your concern about the red leaves. We also noted that this native plant is an annual, which would mean the leaves should be dropping off anyway. Remember, we are only fishing for information from a plant we do know something about, as opposed to your plant, about which we don't know much, but is nevertheless related.

From this USDA Plant Profile Map, you will note that the native plant is not native to Cochise County, but is to Pima County, right next door, so we think we can assume that the soils, climate and rainfall are practical in both areas.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wild poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora

Wild poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Cutting Gardens from Charlotte, NC
July 30, 2013 - I want to plant a year-round picking garden for flowers to bring into my home. I want to look at landscape plans in lieu of throwing down wildflower seeds. Can you suggest a few websites for ideas?
view the full question and answer

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
view the full question and answer

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Do monarchs like Cynachum laeve in Austin, TX?
May 29, 2012 - I have found what I believe is Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve) growing in my yard here in Austin. I tried using the LBJWC plant data base and could not find it. I also found the plant with a diff...
view the full question and answer

Correct cultural conditions for liatris
April 15, 2008 - I recently bought some gayfeather (liatris pycnostachya) and planted in my yard in a nice full sun spot. Gets sun for roughly 10 hours a day. However, it's also the single driest spot in my yard (jus...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center