Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 09, 2009

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native cuphea in Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have about 8 Bat Face Cupheas and I am having trouble with them. First, instead of mounding 360 degrees, the branches all grow forward (they do bloom well). They're in full sun, about 3 feet out from a wall. What could be causing this? Second, I live very near Houston, when and how should I trim them?

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the care, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Cuphea llavea, bat-faced cuphea, is native to Mexico, which we do not at present include in our North American Native Plant Database. From Magnolia Gardens, here is some more information on Cuphea llavea.

Since we don't have any information on this plant in our database, we'll try to make some suggestions that might help. First, this is an annual, so trimming it back in the Fall will not be necessary. If it has seeded out, or you have harvested seeds to plant in the Spring, you will have more plants next year. As for growing all in one direction, this is usually the result of not enough sun, and the plants will reach toward the sun. You say it is in full sun, but we regard "full sun" as 6 or more hours of sunlight daily. If other plants or your house are casting shade on the plant during some of that 6 hours, that could be what is causing the problem. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Lists of native plants in Rome, Italy area
November 27, 2005 - Do you know anywhere that I can find a list of native plants in Italy, especially in the Rome area.
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Bryophyllum spp. in Austin
May 13, 2010 - I was given two varieties of what I now believe are 'Mother of Millions' and saw that they're considered a noxious weed in Australia. Are these plants considered dangerous to TX if I keep them in ...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of non-native invasive clerodendron
August 15, 2007 - What do you do about clerodendron that is spreading like wildfire. A friend gave me one plant before I was acquainted with invasives!!
view the full question and answer

How to eliminate roadside thistles
May 26, 2015 - When we drive along the highway we see lots of wildflowers and no thistles in the median. How does the Highway Department keep the thistles out? Here in Kerrville, we are overwhelmed by thistles thi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Ruda plant drying up in Florida
February 19, 2009 - 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.
view the full question and answer

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