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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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Friday - August 30, 2013

From: waxahachie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: What causes rock rose branches to snap off?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

my small texas rock rose branches keep snapping in the center. What is causing this and what can I do?

ANSWER:

Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock rose) is a favorite small perennial that is both drought- and cold-resistant and does well in partial shade.  The branches are relatively fragile, especially when they are left to grow long (see attached image).  I suspect that some of your branches may have been broken by animals (including humans) brushing against them.  Pavonia's naturally loose, open-branching form may be kept more compact by frequent pruning, which promotes new growth and more flowers.  This may lessen the likelihood of branch breakage.

Pavonia at my house in Austin are a favorite with the deer, who usually nibble leaves off the tips of the branches, sometimes breaking them in the process. If you notice that the mature leaves are missing from the branch tips deer herbivory may also be a cause of your branch damage.

 

From the Image Gallery


Rock rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

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