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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Friday - February 03, 2006

From: Koloa, HI
Region: Hawaii
Topic: Trees
Title: Tahitian gardenias (Gardenia taitensis) salt and wind resistance in Hawaii
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are Tahitian Gardenias salt tolerant? We live on a rocky coastline in Hawaii and we get a lot of salt spray.

ANSWER:

You are in luck, Tahitian gardenias (Gardenia taitensis) ARE salt and wind resistant. The Cooperative Extension Service of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa has a paper, "Salt and wind tolerance of landscape plants for Hawaii", that you can download as a PDF file. In this article the authors assign common (and some uncommon) plants used in landscaping in Hawaii to one of two categories:

"Zone 1 plants are highly salt and wind tolerant and can be used in exposed locations, such as areas near the beach receiving direct winds from the ocean. These plants are tolerant of soil salinity and wind-borne salt. During severe storms and hurricanes, even plants listed in Zone 1 may experience moderate to severe salt and wind injury."

"Zone 2 plants are moderately tolerant of soil salinity and usually tolerate light salt spray but should not be used in exposed locations. They may be sensitive to wind or to medium or heavy salt spray. These plants do best when protected by buildings, fences, or plantings of Zone 1 species."

Gardenia taitensis is listed in the "Shrubs—Zone 1" list.

The CTAHR web page is a wonderful resource with lists of publications available on many aspects of gardening in Hawaii.

 

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