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

Cupressaceae dying in Suffolk Co.NY
October 20, 2012 - I have noticed that all of my Cupressaceae (& others I see in my area) are dying. They turn yellow, then rust & brown til they are everbrowns. what is going on?
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Siberian peashrub for waller TX
February 02, 2012 - Good Morning Mr. Smarty Plants! I am trying to find out if the Siberian Pea Shrub is a good plant for Southeast Texas or if it is considered an invasive no no. It seems to have many qualities for wild...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with native plants in Austin
October 06, 2005 - I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
view the full question and answer

Further question on sprouts from holly tree in Surprise AZ
November 16, 2010 - Thank you Barbara Medford for your response to my question about the sprouting holly tree in Surprise AZ. I took for granted that the tree I was talking about was a holly tree. I looked at pictures of...
view the full question and answer

Looking for native plants for a rain garden in Arlington, TX.
March 12, 2012 - I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center