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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

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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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.

 
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Wednesday - May 09, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Vines
Title: Slow flowering wisteria
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a young wisteria growing on the side of the house. It began to flower this year for the first time. Whereas my neighbors' wisterias all bloomed in February, ours has only begun to bloom in mid-April. Is it possible that our wisteria is native, wisteria frutescens?

ANSWER:

You may have the native American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), but more likely you have either the non-native Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) or the Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis). Whichever it is, the wisterias are notoriously slow to flower. This may be caused by a combination of factors including the age of the plants, the amount of sunlight, and nitrogen levels in the soil. Older plants are more likely to flower, plenty of light is a necessity, and high nitrogen levels, vis-a-vis phosphorous, reduce flowering.

As to the identification of the plants, one fairly reliable characteristic distinguishing the different species is the length of the flowering cluster (raceme). W.floribunda is the longest with 12-18 inch racemes; W. sinensis follows with 6-12 inches; and W. frutescens is last with 4-6 inch racemes.

Check the following sites for even more information about these beautiful plants. Oregon State University Department of Horticulture, and Growing Wisteria from the Ohio State University Extension Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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