En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - October 18, 2007

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Nutrient imbalance in Tecoma stans
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have two Tecoma stans on the north-east side of my yard. They have grown very tall (5') but have not bloomed all summer. Last summer they bloomed profusely. Any idea what the problem might be?

ANSWER:

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) aka Esperanza or Yellow Bells is a popular landscape plant that is native to Texas and Northern Mexico, and the cultivar "Gold Star", developed by a plant breeder in San Antonio, TX, has become a favorite in Texas due to its abundant flower production and its shorter height.

Since you had profuse blooms last summer, but none this summer, the question to ask yourself is what am I doing differently this summer? Flowering is a complex process that is influenced by several factors including amount of sunlight, amount of water, and nutrient balance, particularly the nitrogen to phosphorous (N/P) ratio. Unless you have transplanted the Tecoma or have had an unusual amount of rainfall, you can probably eliminate the first two. Austin has had a really wet summer, and the Tecoma here are blooming spectacularly.
That leaves nutrient levels. If you fertilized in the spring with a fertilizer that had higher nitrogen content relative to phosphorous, this may be your problem. I'm including links to Texas A&M and Penn State that do a great job of explaining the N/P ratio and its effect on flowering.

You might also check to make sure that there aren't any insects that are attacking the immature buds. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

More Shrubs Questions

Non blooming Texas Mountain Laurel from Las Vegas NV
September 04, 2012 - Hi, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and have a Texas Laurel and have had it for 2 years and still no purple flowers on it. Why won't it bloom ? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Living fence to contain sheep in Indiana
March 19, 2009 - I would like to plant a living fence that would also contain sheep. I have researched this but I cannot find a definite list of trees or shrubs to use. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Wind and erosion tolerant plants from Austin
August 05, 2013 - I recently cleared a fire break by removing cedar from around my home in West Austin. I'd like to plant the exposed NW facing slope with native shrubs and trees. Looking for selections that can wit...
view the full question and answer

Denying cows access to flowers through fence
March 20, 2008 - What flowers can I plant that cows will not eat? They stick their heads through the fence and eat anything they can reach. I would like to plant something in the fence row that will not hurt the cows...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Burning Bush in Missouri
October 15, 2008 - I live in MO and am pretty sure I have burning bushes on either side of my deck. My question is that they are huge and overgrown but I feel if I cut them lower and shape the sides up I will be left w...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center