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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - February 19, 2009

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Non-native Ruda plant drying up in Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a RUDA plant at work, but do not know if I am putting too much water on it, it is about 1 meter high but I think is drying up. How often do I water it? I'm in Miami Fl. Thank you.

ANSWER:

This article from Floridata on Mexican Ruda or Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) notes that it is a native of southern Europe that has been imported to North America as an ornamental plant and for its medicinal properties (from Botanical.com). It is known for its ability to tolerate hot, dry conditions. It is not native to North America and therefore will not be in our Native Plant Database. However, we can probably help you with the plant care.

If the plant has been recently planted, transplanting the rue has probably shocked its roots—there is too much top for the roots to support. You need to remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the top of the plant to give the poor plant a chance to get through the transplant shock. Once established, it will put on new growth. The Common Rue is very drought-resistant, but needs a good watering (remember, always with good drainage) about every other day until it is well established.

 

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