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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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Wednesday - May 30, 2012

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Spots on leaves of Esperanza from Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Have a new 1 foot high Esperanza. It is flowering OK (so far) but it has small rust colored spots about the size of a B-B all over most of the leaves. On the top side of the leaf the spot is depressed in to the leaf and on the bottom side it bulges out. To look at it makes you think of smallpox. Some leaves are yellowing. It has pretty good drainage but I don't know how much to water it. We're not getting much rain but it gets a little squirt from the sprinkler system once a week.

ANSWER:

From our webpage on Tecoma stans (Yellow bells) here is some information on growing conditions for this plant:

"Varieties sold in nurseries may be from tropical stock and not do so well in US cold. Yellow bells is drought tolerant and Southwestern varieties are adapted to monsoon rains with dry spells between. They may flower better if such conditions are emulated in planned landscapes, so allow ground to dry out between waterings."

Since you say it is a new plant, we are wondering when it was planted. One of the biggest problems for woody plants, especially in hot Texas, is transplant shock. We recommend that woody plants, trees and shrubs, be planted in cooler weather, like November to January, while they are dormant.

Please follow the plant link above to learn the soils, sun and watering it likes. The "squirt" from the sprinkler might not be what it needs, but a hose stuck down in the soil and allowed to drip slowly until water appears on the surface about once a week. Also on that webpage, go all the way down to Additional Resources at the bottom of the page. We clicked on the "Search USDA Plants for (plant name). States in green on the map you will get are those where the plant in question is native, usually the first thing we check on. You can click on that state, and get a map of the counties where that plant is native. Here is the USDA Plant Profile Map for Esperanza, showing that it is not native to Dallas County, but is more concentrated in far West Texas. And, again, it may be a hybrid or non-native species from a nursery.

In that same Additional Resources area at the bottom of our webpage there is a link to Google on the plant, which we will use to see if we can find information on an insect pest that might be causing the bumps on the leaves. In the process we found one of our own previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions, which we believe about covers it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

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