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

Monday - June 24, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning non-native Chinese fringe flower from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When is the best time of year to prune Plum Delight? And how severely can it be cut back?

ANSWER:

Here is an article from Ask.com on How to Grow Plum Delight, also known as Lorapetalum chinense, Chinese Fringe Flower. This plant is native to, well, China, as well as Japan and southeast Asia. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home to 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 those plants are being grown; in your case, Travis County. We do this to ensure that you have the proper soil, climate and rainfall in your garden to accommodate the plants on which you spend precious resources. Since we do not have it in our Native Plant Database, we have to rely on information we can find on the Internet, as can you.

An article from Clemson University Extension on Lorapetalum has a couple of lines you should be interested in, but you should read the whole article.

"Root rot can be an issue, especially in poorly drained soils. In addition, leaves may become chlorotic (yellow) in alkaline (pH greater than 7.0) soil." The Austin area is notorious for alkaline soils and poorly draining clay, which is why we would not recommend this plant for Austin, even if it were native.

"Transplanting easily from containers, their preferred growing conditions include sun to partial shade (especially afternoon shade) and moist, well-drained, acidic soil with plenty of organic matter. They benefit from being mulched. Once established, they are very tolerant of drought conditions. Loropetalums respond well to a light application of slow-release fertilizer in early April and again in early June. Planted in the right location, they do not require pruning; however, they tolerate even heavy pruning very well. When necessary, prune in the spring after bloom so as not to reduce flowering the following spring."

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Need help with pruning my Anacacho Orchid tree.
January 04, 2010 - We have an Anacacho Orchid Tree which has done so well in its location that we will need to prune it back. Please advise how much we can prune it and what time of year to do so. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Problem with crapemyrtle shoots in Victoria, TX
May 13, 2009 - I have a problem with crepe myrtle shoots coming up in my flowerbed. I had to remove a large crepe myrtle tree (18" diameter stump) and digging out the stump was not possible. I killed the stump wi...
view the full question and answer

Trimming non-native sago from Fresno CA
September 10, 2012 - I have a sago plant, fronds are hanging over into street, can the fronds themselves be trimmed back without removing the whole frond?
view the full question and answer

Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
June 06, 2012 - We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.
view the full question and answer

Climbing options for a Coral honeysuckle in Austin Texas
April 16, 2013 - Regarding Coral honeysuckle, what is the best support to encourage continued spread, chicken-wire/fencing? Currently the plants and vines are on fencing and beginning to fold over. I'd like to add...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center