Contact Us Host an Event 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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 31, 2010

From: Phoenix, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Deadheading seedless desert willows for continued bloom in Phoenix AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We planted two seedless desert willow trees this spring. Both have bloomed nicely but we now have many stems with the spent flowers still on the tree. Your database for this plant says to "Remove spent flowers and seed pods to encourage continued blooming". Does this mean that the entire stem on which the spent flowers are located should be cut off? Or that just the spent flowers should be removed and the empty stems left on the tree? Similarly for the Tecoma Stans (Orange Jubilee and Sunrise) bushes we have recently planted. Should we remove the entire stem or just the spent flowers?

ANSWER:

We didn't know there was such a thing as a seedless desert willow, but then found this High Country Gardens website seedless desert willow Chilopsis linearis 'Monhews, which means it is a cultivar or selection of native Chilopsis linearis (desert willow). This makes the removal of seed pods to encourage more blooming a little confusing. The purpose of any plant is to reproduce itself. It blooms to attract pollinators and then produces seeds.  If you remove the bloom after it has faded, you will have thwarted the need of the plant to produce seeds, and it will bloom again. If your plant is truly seedless, we're not sure what effect that would have on re-blooming. However, acting on what we do know, we stopped at a neighborhood grocery store parking lot with blooming desert willows in planters. We examined the blooms, which of course, already had seed pods beneath them, as this was obviously a regulation issue desert willow. We observed that both the blooms and the seeds pods were on the end of a small twiglet. Our recommendation would be to sever that twiglet at the joint with the next biggest branch. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: (these are NOT the seedless cultivar)


Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Dying trees in San Marcos, Texas
September 24, 2011 - I live on 11 acres in San Marcos and cannot water at all during this drought. All of my oaks and mountain laurels are turning brown. Does this mean they are all dying? Will they come back in the sp...
view the full question and answer

Does Mexican plum require more than one plant for successful pollination?
May 25, 2011 - Re: Mexican plums.. Do I need to plant more than 1 to ensure proper pollination? I have always been told that commercial plums need at least 2 to pollinate properly for consistent plum production. A...
view the full question and answer

A good Amelanchier (Serviceberry) for Brooklyn, NY.
November 03, 2015 - I am looking to purchase an Amelanchier to plant in Brooklyn this month. Would you know which variety works best in a small garden and also is it too late to plant. Mainly, I am looking for someone wh...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature cottonwood in Justin TX
September 17, 2012 - I have a very large, 90" circumference, approx 60' tall, cottonwood tree in my front yard that appears to be sick. The trunk splits at about the 4' level into 2 parts. at that split is a 10" wide...
view the full question and answer

Wind damage to pecan tree in Royse City, TX
June 14, 2009 - The wind broke my pecan tree trunk in two. It is approximately 2 in caliper and about 15 feet tall. Is there a tree trunk repair?
view the full question and answer

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