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

Monday - November 05, 2012

From: Blanco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Soils, Vines
Title: Chlorosis in Texas Wisteria from Blanco TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Just noticed a Texas Wisteria I bought last month and it is already looking chlorotic. Mixed compost in w/the dirt it is planted in but I don't think that will be enough. Is Blanco soil too alkaline? Any soil organic ammendments I could use to acidify after it's planted?

ANSWER:

As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map, Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) occurs naturally in Texas only in counties in far eastern Texas. As do all wisterias, it requires an acidic soil, which of course you don't have in Blanco County. The compost was a good step, as that will aid in drainage. Poor drainage can often contribute to chlorosis.

Please read this previous Mr.Smarty Plants answer which deals with chlorosis, in this case, Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel). We are wondering if what you have diagnosed as chlorosis might be something else altogether. The wisteria is deciduous, it may just be preparing to go dormant for the winter. You just planted it, so it could very well be suffering from transplant shock. If you follow this plant link, Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), to our webpage on that plant, you will see this in Conditions Comments:

"Conditions Comments: Prefers a good loamy soil in a sunny south or southwest facing position, sheltered from cold winds and from early morning sun on frosty mornings. Plants can become chlorotic on alkaline soils. Prefers a rich soil, but some gardeners feel too rich a soil results in too much leaf growth. Tolerates seasonal flooding."

We already know you have an alkaline soil and probably clay; you can't change that. Otherwise, consider what growing conditions you have given your plant and compare with those on the webpage for that plant. If you decide you have positioned the plant in the wrong place, it is still early enough to transplant it. It can be trimmed back for transplant, and if you repeat the addition of compost, plus some supplemental iron to the soil, you may very likely be able to have a flourishing vine next season. Our webpage also says that the vine can do well in a circumneutral soil, which is to say it doesn't absolutely require acidity to survive. One of our favorite gardening quotations is that plants don't necessarily grow where it is ideal but where they can get away with it. We think, with a little tweaking, your wisteria should be able to get away with it.

 

From the Image Gallery


American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

More Soils Questions

Growing Loblolly Pines Outside Native Range
April 03, 2014 - I would like a stand of pines on my property but do not know if they will grow in my area. Do you know if the soil in Waelder, Texas will support pines?
view the full question and answer

Help with composting in Katy TX
March 19, 2010 - I've gone on line and tried to figure out what I'm doing wrong with my compost pile. What exactly is the proper ratio, and the types of plant matter and layers to achieve the optimum decomposition i...
view the full question and answer

Leaf drop from maple tree in Minnesota
August 15, 2008 - I have about a 30 ft maple tree in my yard, last fall I trimmed it pretty good because the branches were getting low where you could not walk under it or get grass to grow. This is the 2nd time in abo...
view the full question and answer

Plants native to Hudson River
December 03, 2010 - What plants grow along/in the Hudson River?
view the full question and answer

Do leaves with tannins make good compost from Austin
November 04, 2010 - I have a couple of old native pecan trees in my (or neighbor's) yard that drop bushels and bushels of leaves every fall. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a recollection that pecan leaves have...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center