Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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

Landscaper recommends non-native zoysia in Austin
April 05, 2013 - My landscaper recommends using "zoysia" grass throughout my new lawn, in full shade, partly shaded, and non-shaded areas, including in the gaps between leuder stone walks. I haven't heard about th...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing branches on non-native sago palms after freeze in Rusk TX
January 30, 2010 - My Sago Palms experienced a good freeze. Now they have a multitude of yellowing branches, in fact most of the plant is yellow. Please advise what to do to save my plants. They are about nine years ...
view the full question and answer

Distribution of Non-Native Royal Empress Tree
August 23, 2007 - I was wondering if you could give me the statistics for the Royal Empress Tree in the Long Island area. I have two and have read numerous articles online regarding them being invasive through the root...
view the full question and answer

Help for a Transplanted Bougainvillea
April 22, 2014 - I recently planted a bougainvillea in our south-facing front yard. While planting it, we inadvertently severed a large portion of the root system from the plant. What, if anything, can we do to help...
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native Primrose jasmine
March 14, 2007 - I have 4 large primrose jasmine shrubs that were transplanted about 4 years ago. They were cut back fairly harshly at that time. Since then, the centers remain very woody... no greenery... but the l...
view the full question and answer

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