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?


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

Thursday - March 28, 2013

From: Bryan, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Shrubs
Title: Death of lantana in Bryan TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I would like to know what killed several new gold lantana in a single bed that died over the winter. They looked quite healthy last fall. I have several other new gold lantana that survived the winter very well in a nearby bed that are on the same irrigation zone. Both beds are raised. There are African Iris that look fine in the same bed as the dead lantana. When I pull out the dead lantana, only 6 inches of the root system pulls out with the stump, the roots are brittle and appear to be encased in a brown, porous material, about twice the diameter of what I think is the root. Any advice is welcomed.


What you have is a cultivar or hybrid of Lantana camara, which is native to tropical and subtropical areas in Central and South America. Top growth is winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 (roots hardy to Zone 9). Brazos County is in USDA Hardiness Zones 8b to 9a, but since the same plant is doing all right in other beds we don't think that is the problem.

This Denton Count Master Gardeners article New Gold Lantana will give you information on the sun and moisture needed. Please note the Warning at the bottom of that page on the poisonous aspect of the plant.

Since the climate and watering is apparently appropriate for your plant, we have a feeling it is a problem in the dirt of that bed. Please read this article from The University of Arizona Cotton Root Rot. This deals with a fungus in the soil. We could find no information indicating that this plant was either susceptible nor resistant to the fungus.

Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, recommends only plants native not only to North America but to the area where the plants will be grown  (in your case, Brazos County) we have no further information. We are gardeners, not plant pathologists, so we suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Education for Brazos County.

From Google, here are Images of Cotton Root Rot.


More Non-Natives Questions

Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
May 21, 2013 - I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
view the full question and answer

Dying foliage on non-native Otto Luyken Laurel from Georgetown KY
April 09, 2014 - I have 5 luken laurel scrubs planted around foundation. They have done very well until this last winter..the foilage is now brown and crispy. Will they come back? Do I need to prune back the damage...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Central Texas
July 01, 2013 - Hi. I recently moved into a remodeled home in Taylor, TX, and have experimented with Cabernet Savignon vines before. I have a 1/2 acre and a chain-link fence I want to put vines on. (I have a book o...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native jasmine from Austin
June 25, 2012 - Hi, I have a mature jasmine plant in the ground in a very sunny courtyard which gets watered daily. The lower leaves are turning yellow and am wondering if this is too much water for it. The top lea...
view the full question and answer

Invasiveness of non-native Asian jasmine
June 18, 2007 - I have a lot of Asian Jasmine planted as groundcover in various beds. The last year or so it has become unruly and is now invading my St. Augustine, working its way into the lawn itself. Is there an...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center