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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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Saturday - January 05, 2008

From: Kingsland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Promoting bloom of crossvine
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a crossvine a couple of years ago and it has grown quite well, climbing well up the Mesquite tree it was planted under. However, it has never bloomed. I was really looking forward to those lovely flowers. What do I need to do to coax a bloom?

ANSWER:

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is an evergreen flowering vine that can grow to 50 feet in length. There are two or three possibilities as to why you are not getting blooms. The first, we suspect, is that it has not matured enough to bloom yet. It sometimes takes several years before the gorgeous hummingbird-attracting blooms begin to appear. The second possibility is that it is not getting enough sun. While this plant will tolerate shade, it does much better in full sun. Sometimes a crossvine will begin to bloom when it gets to the top of its support or trellis, and gets into the sunlight. And, finally, you may be giving it too much nitrogen fertilizer. It likes a lot of water and nutrients, and general purpose fertilizer should be added to the soil every two to three weeks. Switch to a high phosphorus formula just before the blooming period. Too much nitrogen in fertilizer will promote lots of green leaves in a plant, at a cost to blooms. You should also be warned that this plant can become invasive. It will reseed and if you do not want all those additional plants coming up, remove the seed pods before they complete development.

 


Bignonia capreolata

 

 

 

 

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