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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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Saturday - April 18, 2009

From: Tyler, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native Indian hawthorn
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have some Indian Hawthorns that were planted for us by a landscape company. The first year we got a little bit of bloom. Since then the shrubs don't bloom at all. They are in a flower bed up against a brick wall in afternoon sun. The soil is mostly clay. What is the problem? Should I start over? I've had trouble growing anything in this spot because of the heat from the brick wall.

ANSWER:

Rhaphiolepis indica, Indian hawthorn, is native to temperate and tropical Asia, including China and Cambodia, and therefore out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We are committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Plants already adapted to an area by eons of experience with the climate, rainfall and soils will have fewer pests and diseases and need less maintenance.

You will probably find some answers to your question from this University of Florida Extension website, Indian Hawthorne Brings Spring Flowers by Daniel F. Cuthbert. 

Perhaps we could suggest some plants native to East Texas that might do better in that situation than the Indian hawthorns, or other plants you have tried. We are going to go to Recommended Species for East Texas, select on sun (6 hours or more of sun a day) and part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) and look for shrubs that could take the heat, as it were.

Native Shrubs for Tyler, Texas

Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow) - deciduous, 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms white, pink May to November

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - evergreen, blooms white April and May

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) - deciduous, 3 to 6 ft., blooms red, orange, yellow April to October

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - evergreen fragrant foliage, 6 to 12 ft., blooms green March and April


Hibiscus laevis

Ilex vomitoria

Lantana urticoides

Morella cerifera

 

 

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