Gold Star Esperanza not blooming?

I’ve received an alert from Dr. Jerry Parsons that once again he has seen, and continues to see, a large number of Gold Star Esperanzas that are all green/not blooming.

Jerry Parsons has seen these plants in a San Antonio area nursery and has been concerned that they haven’t been blooming. He’s working with that retail nursery to go back up the supply line to their wholesale grower to get this problem solved. Click image for larger view.

This has happened before, and it’s apparently happened again in 2021. Let me explain.

Gold Star Esperanza is a very special selection of the native Texas plant Tecoma stans. It was found and introduced more than 20 years ago by highly respected Texas plant man Greg Grant, then working in the San Antonio area. Greg chose it because of its brilliant bright yellow color, but more than that, because of its continuous bloom from spring until frost.

Greg Grant is standing beside the original Gold Star Esperanza plant showing its habit of blooming continuously.

Gold Star Esperanza became an instant hit, quickly winning Texas A&M’s coveted Texas SuperStar® designation. Greg and Jerry worked closely with the Texas nursery industry to get the plant into the retail trade, and the rest is history.

Well, almost.

Somewhere along the way the wheels seem to have come off here and there. A few wholesale nurseries either used inferior seedlings as their propagation stock, or they bought liners from growers who weren’t careful to use known Gold Star plants for their cuttings.

Continued Below

The result for consumers has been plants that go all the way through late spring and summer without producing any flowers at all. They don’t bloom until fall, and by then they are much taller than desired.

The gardeners are disappointed and they often blame themselves for doing something wrong. Little do they realize that the problem usually isn’t on them – that it goes back to the propagator who started the transplants clear back in late winter.

This is the way Gold Star Esperanzas should look in nurseries – not the all-green look you see in the photo at the top of this story. Click image for larger view.

Critical Note:
I sent my story to both Greg and Jerry asking that they look it over – just to be sure I hadn’t written anything out-of-bounds. Each of them said one thing needs to be added:
“No matter what size of Gold Star you buy, to be sure you have a true Gold Star, it should be in bloom, even if it’s a very small transplant.”

They said they have seen 2-inch greenhouse plugs blooming in the propagation trays. True Gold Stars are never out of bloom!

If you have a plant that you bought to be a Gold Star Esperanza back in the spring, and if you’ve given it full or nearly full sun and regular water and feeding, yet it’s failed to perform well for you, your best recourse at this point would be to go back to the nursery where you bought it and discuss it with them.

Print out a copy of this story and share it with them. They probably need to talk to the sales rep from the wholesale nursery that sold them their plants. Some changes are probably in order.

This is a great plant that needs to be used all over Texas. Just be sure you get the real one!

Grow Gold Star Esperanza and Laura Bush petunias and get two Texas SuperStar® plants together!
Posted by Neil Sperry
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