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

Friday - July 12, 2013

From: Chambersburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?

ANSWER:

Please read this article from Ecosystem Gardening Native Alternatives to Invasive Paulownia Trees.

Paulownia tomentosa (Royal Empress) is a deciduous tree in the family Paulowniaceae, native to central and western China, but invasive in the USA. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area where those plants grow naturally; in your case, the borough of Chambersburg in South Central Pennsylvania. This places that tree out of our realm of expertise but we wanted to address your question in hopes it would discourage others from planting this non-native invasive tree.

From the Missouri Botanical Garden here is an article on Paulownia tomentosa, which said "No fall color." We found purple leaves mentioned nowhere else, although the flowers are purple.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Advantages of using native plants
March 28, 2015 - Hello. My question is not about a specific plant but a more general question about natives. I am writing a research paper and am interested in finding seminal research that explains why we should us...
view the full question and answer

Identifying problem with non-native plumbagos in San Antonio
November 21, 2009 - Barbara Medford answered my question on plumbagos..we have the ones that grow crazy in TX (not sure which species, but w/ the bright blue/purple blooms..). I have pictures and wasn't sure where to se...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Basil
August 14, 2007 - One of my Basil plants has leaves that are curling (shriveling.) I see no insects on any of the leaves. The plant next to this one is growing beautifully. Both are in large pots and are in the sun....
view the full question and answer

Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
February 27, 2013 - I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good wa...
view the full question and answer

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