Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 04, 2013

From: Waco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning
Title: Pruning Cuphea Plants
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

The David Verity cuphea (cigar plants) that I planted last spring are now 3-4 feet high. I would like to move them, but before I do they seem to need pruning. All the branches are brown and dry looking. How many inches above the ground would you recommend?

ANSWER:

Cuphea ‘David Verity’ is a hybrid, which the Missouri Botanical Gardens says is possibly from Cuphea ignea crossed with Cuphea micropetala and is winter hardy to zone 8.

Sorry, cuphea are a little out of our line. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Your cuphea has been hybridized and originally imported from other countries and not considered native.

Even though your Cuphea 'David Verity' is a hybrid and considered outside the realm of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it is similar to the native lantana, and you should be fine pruning the cuphea down to 1-2 feet during the winter while it is dormant so you can transplant it before spring. Cuphea ‘David Verity’ is a “Plants for Texas” plant and is recommended for Texas gardens. Although your cuphea is not native, the Plants for Texas plant list does have many natives that they promote.  

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Replacing non-native iceplant in El Cajon CA
June 11, 2010 - Help! We are clearing fungus dead iceplant on a massive steep bank. Should I avoid replacing it with more iceplant? Would myaporum prostrate be a better option? Fast growing, erosion resistant, zero m...
view the full question and answer

Searching for Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana (copperleaf)
April 06, 2015 - Some species of Acalypha are natives, but the one I'm looking for is Copper Plant or Acalypha amentacea/wilkesiana. Can you give me a source where I can order seed? When I was kid working at a local ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native gardenias in San Ramon, CA
July 11, 2009 - I have a Gardenia tree planted in my front yard that gets shade and sun. It is dropping leaves and the leaves that are left are yellow. I had been watering it every day, but decreased that to every ot...
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Paulownia
May 03, 2006 - Hi. We would like to plant a fast growing tree that will provide shade for our house. What do you think of the Paulownia tree (Empress Tree) as a possibility for the Austin area? If this is not a g...
view the full question and answer

Regulations for transporting plants to Texas from Florida
July 29, 2008 - We are relocating to TX from FL, I have a collection of potted palm trees and quite a few potted tropical plants (none are invasive)that I would like to bring with us, we will be traveling by car and ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.