Contact Us Host an Event 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
1 rating

Wednesday - November 12, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Pale leaves and brown tips on Tecoma stans in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Tecoma Stans planted in a large galvanized container in a sunny spot. It has grown very fast in the last few months and flowers regularly, but the leaves are pale and the tips are turning brown. Any ideas of what could cause this?

ANSWER:

Okay, quick now, do you have drainage holes in that galvanized container? If you don't, the roots of that Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) may be in serious trouble. This plant is a desert plant, used to limestone-based soils, and growing on hillsides, slopes and canyons. If there is any water, the roots will greedily drink it up, but they don't tolerate standing in it. 

From an article "Focus on Plant Problems" from the University of Illinois Extension:

"Chlorosis is a yellowing of leaf tissue due to a lack of chlorophyll. Possible causes of chlorosis include poor drainage, damaged roots, compacted roots, high alkalinity, and nutrient deficiencies in the plant. Nutrient deficiencies may occur because there is an insufficient amount in the soil or because the nutrients are unavailable due to a high pH (alkaline soil). Or the nutrients may not be absorbed due to injured roots or poor root growth."

More information from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Iron Chlorosis Signals Problems indicates that often the trace mineral missing and causing chlorosis is iron. If you planted your Tecoma stans in potting soil, it should be balanced and not be causing the chlorosis problem. If, however, you dug up native soil for the plant, it could be too alkaline even for the alkaline-tolerating Yellow Bells. Iron chelates are organic compounds containing redily absorbed iron, and may provide a temporary solution to the problem. 

Yellow Bells is a good container plant, but it needs to be a big enough container to provide sufficient room for the roots, and it needs to have drainage. 


Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with non-native Banana Shrub from Houston
May 01, 2014 - My 7' beloved Banana Shrub (magnolia) has white dots on top of the leaves and nasty black stuff covering the backside of the leaves. The plant is dropping leaves. What can I do to save it? I has bee...
view the full question and answer

What is eating the plants in my garden?
August 08, 2008 - I have both purple and yellow coneflowers. Something is coming into my garden and eating the flowers off the stems. We don't have deer but may have other small animals that can get into our yard. Do ...
view the full question and answer

When is it time to remove diseased oak trees in Belton, TX?
May 03, 2013 - When to give up on my live oaks. We lost/mostly several live oaks since 2011 and the drought. One, died from the crown, one large mass at a time, and now resembles a 10' totem pole with scraggly gro...
view the full question and answer

Need some help with a Plumbago plant in Mission, TX.
August 06, 2010 - Hello..I live in south South Texas and have a plumbago. It gets about 4 to 5 hours of direct sun and lately some of the branches and leaves turn bright green almost yellow. Am I over watering or is ...
view the full question and answer

Iris Changing Color?
April 03, 2015 - I have some iris planted under a very tall tree and they bloom nicely every February. The original bulbs were given to me when I moved here to Arizona 30 years ago. They have always bloomed white. I h...
view the full question and answer

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