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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 - July 07, 2004

From: Greensboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Soils
Title: Patience for slow-growing Baptisia
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

I have three different varieties of well established Baptisia that I have had for several years ... none of them bloom. One of my plants got a very small flower in April, but just pooped out after that. They are pretty plants, nice foliage ... but I love the blooms that I never get. They are in very loamy soil ... about six inches of decayed leaf litter with clay underneath. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

The answer to your question lies in patience. Baptisia species are slow growing, generally providing blooming after a 2 to 3 year period of maturity. They are members of the Pea family (Fabaceae), have long taproots, do not respond well to transplanting, and most of the species require full sun with well draining soil. Depending on the species that you have acquired, next year may provide adequate blooming for you.

 

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