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

Growing Grapes in Southern Texas on an Arbor
July 02, 2014 - I've redirected several grape vines (from the top third of a broken oak tree) onto an arbor. The base of the vine is about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Is it feasible to work with (prune) the smaller b...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
July 23, 2009 - I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves t...
view the full question and answer

Can Live Oak suckers be mowed during Oak Wilt spread season in Austin?
April 12, 2010 - I live in South Austin, not too far from the Wildflower Center. I have a Live Oak in my yard with a substantial amount of sucker growth from the roots. Can I mow them freely throughout the year, or ...
view the full question and answer

Copper Canyon daisy leaves turning yellow in Spring Branch TX
September 01, 2010 - My Copper Canyon daisies have grown well this year but the leaves are turning yellow. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados from San Antonio
August 26, 2011 - I have some very successful wildly blooming "Dwarf Pride of Barbados" plants growing in my xeriscape garden. Each year I cut them back to the ground. I have just purchased a new variety called "...
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