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?

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
1 rating

Friday - May 28, 2010

From: Texas City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Transplants, Watering
Title: Why is my recently planted Esperanza doing poorly in Texas City, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have an Esperanza I planted about 2 months ago. It has been doing well, except today all but one stem of the plant is wilting and the leaves are rolling. I see no bugs on the plant. Any idea what might be causing this?

ANSWER:

I think we have two things going on here. The first is that your Esperanza is experiencing transplant shock. When a plant comes out of a pot and is put into soil, there is a period of adjustment while the root system gets established in order to supply the stems and leaves. The roots are not able to supply enough water to the leaves so they wilt and fall off. In some cases, the plant has become root-bound in the pot, and this makes the adjustment period harder. Two common mistakes that are made with new plants are over watering and over-fertilzation. The plant is stressed because of the transplanting, and stressed plants don't need fertilizer.
Removing 1/4 to 1/3  of the damaged upper part of the plant can can help alleviate the situation by reducing the water demand on the roots. Leave as many healthy leave leaves as you can so photosynthesis can continue and feed the roots. Once the balance between roots and shoots has been restored, the plant is on the road to recovery.

The other thing has to do with location. Esperanza Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) is a desert plant with a large range extending from south Texas westward to Arizona. If you check the USDA County Distribution map for Tecoma sans, you will see that it does not occur naturally along the Gulf Coast. It grows in full sun or partial shade with dry conditions, and prefers well drained, rocky, limestone, sand and loam soils. Is that the situation where your plant is growing?

You maybe able to coax Esperanza to grow in Texas City by addressing soil pH and drainage issues. I suggest that you contact the folks at the the Galveston County Office of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Brown patches on St. Augustine grass
April 24, 2009 - I have brown patches on my st. augustine grass, it looks like the grass has rotted from standing water, but the drainage is not a problem, What could it be?
view the full question and answer

Problems with purple passion flower
September 04, 2007 - Hello, I live in La Place, Louisiana (30 miles west of New Orleans). In March 2007, I planted a purple passion flower (maypop). During the spring it thrived and was covered with brilliant green le...
view the full question and answer

Juniper-apple rust galls
April 24, 2010 - I have Red Cedar trees in my yard. I have just noticed something that looks like a reddish brown squid-like bloom about the size of a small orange. Is this normal or is it a fungus?
view the full question and answer

Problems with maple in Denver
June 09, 2011 - I live in Denver, CO and planted an Autumn Blaze maple three years ago. It has done very well until about a week ago. The leaves are drying out and falling off and earlier today I noticed some bugs ...
view the full question and answer

Blackened leaves on purple sage in Utopia TX
December 08, 2010 - I live in Utopia Texas and have a 5-ft. Texas Purple Sage that has developed a black appearance on the leaves. What is this and what can I do about it?
view the full question and answer

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