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
1 rating

Thursday - May 27, 2010

From: Tucson , AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Failure to thrive of non-native Confederate Jasmine in Tucson AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Star/Confederate Jasmine, a 30 foot long wall of it, for over 5 years now has one side of it losing leaves. I seem to remember it did this one other summer, but came back in?? What could be the problem. I have inspected it for mites, cant see any, it gets ample water, the other side looks fine. I am perplexed. I don't want to rip out any of the full wall of this fragrant plant. Can you tell me some things it might be? We have clay here after a foot or so, but that has never bothered it before. We also have those awful Japanese beetles here, would they invade the roots of this? Thanks!

ANSWER:

This article, Tracelospermum jasminoides, from Floridata, will tell you it is not a true Jasmine and, in spite of its name is not native to North America but to China. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is being grown, so this plant is out of our range of expertise and not in our Native Plant Database. We have heard that it should be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer for acid-loving plants, especially if your soil is alkaline, which it probably is in Tucson. As for the Japanese beetle, that is also out of our line, as we are gardeners and botanists, not entomologists. We found one article about it from the USDA Animal and Plant Inpection Service. According to the Floridata site, this plant is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10, which should be all right for Tucson, and that it does not have any serious pests. Since beetles can't read, we would suggest you contact the Arizona Cooperative Extension Office for Pima County to see if there is some sort of infestation. It seems unlikely that beetles or some other pest would only work on one side of the plant and ignore the other.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native, invasive peanut butter tree from Canby, OR
July 17, 2012 - I too have a peanut butter tree with the pink and white blooms, its about 5 years old and is beautiful, but 2 weeks ago it started wilting and losing all its leaves, I am afraid it is dying. Can I sav...
view the full question and answer

Problems with azaleas
April 22, 2008 - Last summer I planted 10 evergreen Azaleas "Hino Crimson" I sprinkled a little rhody fertilizer in their holes before planting and gave them plenty of water all summer. They are all doing fine excep...
view the full question and answer

Plant Care for Plumeria
October 15, 2005 - I have a plumeria that is getting too tall for my small patio. How I should cut it back and can start the cuttings into new plants? Does the original plant need any special care when it is cut back?
view the full question and answer

Gaura dying from Townsville, Australia
September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native tropical hibiscus in Houston
April 15, 2010 - How to care for a tropical hibiscus plant? How much water, sun, fertilizer? I am novice gardener in Houston, TX. From much reading, April seems to be the month I cut all blooms and let the plant lie d...
view the full question and answer

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