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
4 ratings

Thursday - March 31, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Frost damage to non-native Mexican Maradol papaya from San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted Mexican Maradol papaya in my San Antonio garden last year. The plants grew about 5' tall and were starting to flower. Then the winter freezes blasted them; now there's nothing left but stumps at the ground level. Will these plants grow back from the roots?

ANSWER:

We only found one article on the Mexican Maradol papaya the had any horticultural information. We got enough from that to know it is native to Mexico and South America and therefore we will have no information in our Native Plant Database. Also, the article came from Yucatan, which is way down at the southern tip of Mexico. Because the area where it grows is warmer than the USDA Hardiness Zone of Bexar County which is Zone 8b, it seems probable that damaging freezes like we have had in Central Texas in the last two years do not occur on the home territory of this plant. This is one of the reasons that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends growing only plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. Native plants in an area are already acclimated by centuries of experience to the temperatures, rainfall and environment in which they are being grown. We would say that the best way to find out if your tree will grow back is to wait and see. If it doesn't show some new growth at the base pretty soon, we would recommend replacing them with something native that knows how to cope with the very unpredictable Texas weather.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Pride of Barbados seed for Ft. Worth TX
February 07, 2013 - When can you plant the Pride of Barbados plant seeds and how to go about it in Fort Worth Texas?
view the full question and answer

Invasiveness of non-native gooseneck yellow loosetrife in Maine
May 12, 2005 - I live in Maine, and purple loosestrife is invading our habitat. It outcompetes native species. Does gooseneck loosestrife have the same damaging qualities?
view the full question and answer

Non-native lilacs for Salt Lake City, UT
April 15, 2012 - Is the weather in Salt Lake City UT good enough to plant a lilac bush root? If not, how long should I wait?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Sago Palm from Bulverde TX
June 12, 2012 - My husband's job has taken him out of state and he left me in charge of his 27 year old sago palms, (house plants, sort of bonsai). They waited until he left and then quite perversely sprouted 3 foo...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Paulownia tree roots around pool in Austin
May 13, 2010 - We live in Lakeway (basically Austin) and planted a Paulownia tree in our back yard. It is growing well. However, since we planted it a couple of years ago we have put in an in-ground pool. During th...
view the full question and answer

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