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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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Sunday - April 20, 2008

From: White Mills, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Non-blooming toad lily in Kentucky
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have had a toad lily for three years and it has never bloomed. What do I need to do?

ANSWER:

The genus Tricyrtis contains many sub-species, most of them referred to as "toad lilies." They are native to the mountain region of the Himalayas to Japan, Korea and Taiwan. They are not native to North America, and therefore do not appear in our Native Plant Database. We found this Garden Web site on Tricyrtis, which contains a lot of good information on the plant. They have been so extensively propagated and hybridized that it's hard to know exactly which plant you may be dealing with, but all have pretty similar cultural requirements. They need moist shade, and will respond to drought by going dormant and failing to bloom that year. Because it blooms so late, it needs extra watering all summer. Also, one gardener warned that rabbits love to snack on the buds. Do you have rabbits? That might explain the absence of flowers.

 

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