Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?


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

Wednesday - May 05, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native oleander failing to thrive in Corpus Christi
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in South Texas (Corpus Christi). My husband planted Red Oleander in partial to full sun about 1 1/2 weeks ago. They are watered by our sprinkler system. They have recently started to bloom, but now the leaves are turning yellow with some brown/black spots and they are falling off at an alarming rate. What is it and what can I do to fix it?


This article from Floridata will give you some information on Nerium oleander. Please be sure to read the Toxic warning at the bottom of the page. All parts of this plant are toxic, and it is not even safe to burn it, as the smoke retains the toxicity. It is native to North Africa. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center can only answer questions on plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. For more information on the toxicity, read this article on The Top 5 Most Poisonous Plants.


More Non-Natives Questions

Privacy Tree for Austin, TX
February 10, 2013 - Can you recommend a tall privacy plant similar to the Thuya Green Giant that is suitable to the Austin environment?
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native house plant, probably Coleus
September 16, 2007 - What would cause the new leaves of a house plant to be solid green? When I bought it, the original leaves were almost like a "tie-dye" fabric (green,yellow,orange, and red).
view the full question and answer

Disease in non-native globe willow from Morgan UT
June 11, 2011 - I have a globe willow tree that is a few years old but still a relatively young tree. It appears to have slime flux disease. It has 3 or 4 spots on the trunk where the foam exits and runs down the tru...
view the full question and answer

Planting plumereia and bird of paradise palm outside in Austin
May 23, 2007 - I have a plumeria and a bird of paradise palm in pots that I want to place in the ground. I've seen plumeria's planted in the ground at a house leading to Bryan College Station that seem to have bee...
view the full question and answer

Pruning smoketree in New Jersey
May 29, 2009 - How far from ground level do I prune a relatively young Smoke tree to get the bush effect?
view the full question and answer

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