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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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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!

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Monday - July 23, 2007

From: Danielsville, PA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Recovery of damaged fuchsia plant in hanging basket
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had a beautiful fuchsia plant hanging on my porch. The hanger gave way and the plant fell straight down into another flower bed. The fuchsia seemed ok. I put it back in the pot put up new strong hanger and watered it. It looks great But NO flowers. I water it regulary and gave it some plant food. Is it in shock? It lost all flowers and no new ones have appeared.

ANSWER:

There are a number of fuchsia species and varieties, many of which are suitable for hanging baskets. The majority of them are tropicals or sub-tropicals, native to places like South and Central America and Mexico. None are native to the United States. The mission of the Lady Bird Wildflower Center is to promote the use of natives in the landscape. However, few natives adapt well to uses as indoor or outdoor ornamentals in pots, and we can certainly give you a tip on on care for your fuchsias.

The term you used, "shock", is probably very apt. You might not be in too good condition, either, if you fell several times your own height into a flower bed. However, if the plant still looks good, it will probably survive. For one thing, it needs a while to get over the trauma. For another, you may be giving it too much plant food. Plants usually react to too much fertilizer by joyously leafing out, and let the flowers go.

Prescription: More patience and less fertilizer.

 

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