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
3 ratings

Monday - May 19, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Transplant shock for non-native Plumbago auriculata
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted some full plumbago plants that were in containers, in a partially shaded area, they had beautiful flowers when I purchased them, but have since lost them all and the plant is looking very wilted. I watered it at first and then it rained off and on for a few days, but I heard that plumbagos like to be left alone, what gives?

ANSWER:

The first thing we thought of when you described your plant problems was transplant shock. Especially when you buy plants that have already put so much energy into blooming, you need to give them extra tender loving care, maybe for months. Since this plant is a native of South Africa, it does not appear in our Native Plant Database, but we found an article on Plumbago auriculata on a Floridata website. From this article we learned that the plant prefers light sandy soil, need full sunshine, and is considered a subtropical. We would suggest that you first trim away about a third of the upper structure of the plant, including dead flowers. They may very well bloom again this year, but right now they need a rest and you need to save the plant the struggle of getting water up to those top branches. Now, stick a hose into the hole and dribble water, very gently, into the hole until water shows on the surface. If it doesn't drain away within about 30 minutes, you have drainage problems. Repeat this about every other day, especially now that it's turning hot, until the plants begin to perk up. They are fairly drought resistant once they are established, but until then, they need regular water.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Information about cenizo care and care of non-native tibouchinas
June 25, 2008 - I just bought some tibouchinas and need some tips. I plan to plant them in an area that gets sun until about 2pm, then shade for the rest of the day. Will these plants thrive in this environment, or w...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Dietes bicolor leaves brown after freeze in Austin
January 31, 2010 - I live in Austin, and my butterfly iris (Dietes bicolor) that I've had for the last 6 years are all turning brown after the most recent freeze. Should I cut them back, with the thought being they wo...
view the full question and answer

Watering newly-planted Afghan Pines
May 11, 2015 - I just planted some Afghan pines in Amarillo, tx (avg. rainfall about 2O in. Per year) What would be the appropriate amount of water and how often would I need to water during this time.
view the full question and answer

Can bastard cabbage be eaten from Austin
May 02, 2013 - On a local cooking show they were talking about cooking local foods and mentioned bastard cabbage but never showed how to cook it or if it was in fact edible. Would be a way to help get rid of it if ...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

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