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
2 ratings

Tuesday - August 03, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Will non-native gazania bloom in winter?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am quite familiar with Gazania and l-o-v-e it as a summer plant. My question is: while I know it may/will survive the winters here, will it actually be blooming during the coldest months here in Austin? I work in west-ish Austin and there is a proposal on the table to use Gazania "Kiss Orange Flame" as our winter bedding plants, rather than pansies. I am fairly sure they will not bloom all winter because we are on the edge of their "perennial-status zone" and the person that signs my paycheck wants me to confirm my suspicions. Can you enlighten me? Do you know if they will bloom all winter here in Austin? Thanks,

ANSWER:

Frankly, we have two problems with recommending Gazania rigens for Austin. The first problem is that it is not a native to North America, including Texas , but to Africa. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we recommend only native plants. The other problem is that we saw no indication that they would bloom all winter. There are very few plants that even pretend to bloom year round. Since the gazania is an annual, it has to allow time in its bloom cycles for blooms, followed by seeds, and then it usually dies. As you pointed out, this plant is only hardy to Zone 8b, south of Austin, and loves hot, dry summers, which we won't be having in January. For more information, from Old Fashioned Living, here is a site Growing Bold and Brilliant Gazanias.

As far as that is concerned, pansies are non-native also, and the ones you buy in the Fall have probably been propagated in greenhouses, and will certainly die if they are exposed to very cold weather and/or snow, etc.  And under no circumstances would Mr. Smarty Plants ever recommend that anything, native or non-native, would bloom at a certain time or stay in bloom under certain conditions. Sorry.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Invasive non-native mulberry and groundcover in Jacksonville FL
October 02, 2011 - Northeast Florida (Jacksonville) inland. My mulberry tree provides dense shade in the summer and filtered light the other seasons, leaving sand in its growing area. What fast growing ground cover woul...
view the full question and answer

How to eradicate non-native invasive Houttuynia cordata from Muskogee OK
March 20, 2011 - I have planted a very invasive plant called houttuynia and cannot get rid of it! It is very stinky and the stems break off easily at the roots. I cannot dig it up anymore - it is all over in my flow...
view the full question and answer

Late blooming Esperanza in St. Augustine FL
April 21, 2011 - I bought an Esperanza at a plant expo- I was told it was a Florida native Allamanda. It took me two years to figure out what I had. Mine grows 8 ft. tall and is huge! But it doesn't bloom until alm...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bougainvillea from Austin
June 25, 2012 - Bougainvillea isn't a native, but since they are so prevalent here, I hope you can help. I have three, one established in-the-ground, which is pruned almost to the ground every winter; two new this y...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

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