Plant Answers  >  ALERT: MISLABELLED plants as ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza being sold statewide!!

ALERT: MISLABELLED plants as ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza being sold statewide!!


My name is Dr. Jerry M. Parsons ( and with Dr. Calvin Finch ( we have been doing a call-in radio every Saturday and Sunday at Milberger Nursery for over 25 years. We get to see most of the merchandise at the nursery every weekend. We have been extremely upset for several months about the esperanza purchased. The plants have few if any blooms, when purchased and after several months---THIS IS NOT THE WAY ‘GOLD STAR’ SHOULD PERFORM!!! ‘Gold Star’ often blooms when cuttings are being rooted. This means that what you are propagating is CERTAINLY NOT ‘GOLD STAR!!
MISLABELLED as Gold Star Esperanza
MISLABELLED as Gold Star Esperanza
The way Gold Star is SUPPOSED to look in nurseries
The way Gold Star is SUPPOSED to look in nurseries

This has been confirmed by Calvin and I as well as its excessive growth rate with few-if- any blooms. Also, Greg Grant ( has confirmed our suspicions; Greg is the person who found and named ‘Gold Star’. See the attachment which reads “Greg Grant standing by the MOTHER Gold Star.”

Greg Grant standing by the MOTHER Gold Star Esperanza
Greg Grant standing by the MOTHER Gold Star Esperanza

Trace, the manager of Milberger’s, has tried numerous times to express our concerns to your staff that these plants are CERTAINLY NOT ‘GOLD STAR!! He has been told repeatedly that they have and maintain their own stock plants. Do your “stock plants” look like the attached images!!!!!??????
Those plants should be full of blooms!! Those are CERTAINLY NOT ‘GOLD STAR!! Look at the attached images!

Gold Star Esperanza and Laura Bush Petunia
Gold Star Esperanza and Laura Bush Petunia
Gold Star Esperanza on mailbox
Gold Star Esperanza on mailbox

Several things could be happening:
  1. Your stock plants could not be the true ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza.
  2. You have sold out of the true ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza and your staff has ordered liners labelled ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza from Florida or somewhere which are seedlings as plugs.

If either of these is the case, don’t feel bad because you are not alone with this situation---other nurseries such as Seville Farms and Mountain States are having this very same problem! The good news, according to Greg Grant, is that Southwest Perennials have the correct ‘Gold Star’ in liner production.

The problem has been when the plants are labelled as ‘Gold Star’ Neil Sperry and I have been giving the following answer WHICH IS WRONG!!! Because it took a while to figure out that these wholesale nurseries were NOT selling the true ‘Gold Star’ to the retail nurseries:

“Question received:
Last year I planted yellow bells, but, though lush and standing tall, the plants so filled with flowers then now have no flowers on them at all. I planted these to perk the yard with yellow in the summer. I watered, fertilized and mulched; but, brother, it's a bummer to look into the back yard and see nothing there but green. We thought we would get flowers, but no flowers can be seen. What should we do, our gardening friend? Dig these up and plant some others? Frustration reigns. I planted my esperanzas in the sun, fed them Miracle Grow 15-30-15 and achieved no blooms; fed them with Super Bloom powder mixed with water and achieved no blooms; dug in superphosphate and achieved no blooms; tried watering them lots, tried watering them little and achieved no blooms either way. What, Sir, can I do to get gorgeously blooming plants like I have seen outside USAA Bank, which inspired me to put them in our yard in the first place?”

The Answer:

“First of all, I hope you purchased the esperanza (Tecoma stans) from Lone Star (Color Spot) named Gold Star Esperanza. The next possible problem could be too much shade. I realize you said you planted them in the full sun BUT for how long. They MUST receive 8-10 hours of sunbathing sun to bloom properly. Since you indicate they have NEVER bloomed, I must assume there are no seed pods. Seed pods will cause them to spot blooming and should be removed and/or the plants cut back EVERY time seed pods form. If all of this hasn't discovered the problem, then quit fertilizing them and let them slow growth. If over-fertilization is the problem and you stop fertilizing, they should bloom this fall by October. BUT I AM BETTING on too much shade.

EVERYTHING which is underlined IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even ColorSpot (formerly Lone Star Nursery --- the original home of Gold Star Esperanza when Greg worked for them) got their plants messed up because of Reason #2!!! Luckily, there were managers from Lone Star at ColorSpot who believed and trusted Greg Grant; All mislabeled plants were labelled Tecoma stans and sold; stock plants from known ‘Gold Star’ selections were then propagated and sold.

The problem is when mislabeled plants are sold as ‘Gold Star’ and the plants are not in full bloom as their neighbor’s true ‘Gold Stars’ are it creates confusion. I will GREATLY APPRECIATE you correcting this problem as soon as possible and providing notification to all customers who have been sold these mislabeled plants.

Neil Sperry writes in his weekly newsletter in August, 2021:
“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.”

The problem we have encountered is that NO ONE (customers, nurserymen, wholesale plant producers, etc.) can distinguish ‘Gold Star’ from any other Esperanza!!! If the tag reads ‘Gold Star’, people assume it is the plant they are looking for.

Greg Grant has remedied this problem years ago! He writes:
“Might change to the reason I selected it over all other clones I trialed. Gold Star was the only one that started blooming as a 2-inch liner and didn't stop. Many others waited till late summer or fall. –GG”

Greg tagged his selection with a trait which no other Esperanza has, i.e. Constant Blooming. So the obvious answer for homeowners, nurserymen, growers, etc. is to:


Gold Star Esperanza with Texas Flag in Junction, Texas
Gold Star Esperanza with Texas Flag in Junction, Texas

The customers have already figured this out; when one nursery brought in some, non-blooming plants labelled ‘Gold Star’ (picture attached) as well as some true ‘Gold Star’ full of blooms, the true ‘Gold Star’ full of blooms sold in one weekend while the non-blooming plants labelled ‘Gold Star’ have not sold in a month.

Buyer beware when buying Tecoma stans, ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza:


SUPPOSEDLY!! Gold Star Esperanza
SUPPOSEDLY!! Gold Star Esperanza
Employee trying to water the SUPPOSEDLY!! Gold Star Esperanza
Employee trying to water the
SUPPOSEDLY!! Gold Star Esperanza


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