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
4 ratings

Sunday - January 31, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Dietes bicolor leaves brown after freeze in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 would sprout new growth? Or are they dead, and should be dug up and replaced?

ANSWER:

Dietes bicolor, Butterfly or African iris, is a native of South Africa, and therefore out of the purview of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where we are dedicated to the use, care and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.  Both it and members of the genus Iris are related distantly by being part of the family Iridaceae. We can tell you that the Dietes is hardy from Zones 8b through 11; they are evergreen through the winter unless the temperature goes below 25 deg. F., at which time the leaves will turn brown. Since this plant regenerates from a rhizome, it will no doubt come back in warmer weather. We would suggest simply trimming down those browned leaves and not fertilizing.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Changing color of non-native crape myrtles
August 02, 2008 - How do you change the color of a bloom on a crape myrtle tree?
view the full question and answer

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Georgia
April 15, 2013 - I have tried to grow giant pumpkins in the Atlanta, GA area. Each year I lose several strong plants to vine borers. I have tried tin foil wrapped around the stems, and I even painted the stems with Se...
view the full question and answer

Ailing non-native red tip photinia
June 05, 2009 - My red tips look like they are brittle and the leaves are spotted. What do I do?
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

Mowing wildflower concerns from Lockhart TX
March 30, 2012 - I went to the Texas Highway Department (Texas Department of Transportation) web site and sent them a concern or complaint about them or independent contractors shredding the roadsides before the blueb...
view the full question and answer

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