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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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Friday - March 27, 2009

From: The Villages, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to grow tulips and daffodils in Central Florida.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My question is how can you grow tulips and daffdoils in central Florida, just south of Ocala, a place called the Villages? I am from the Washington, DC area and truly miss these flowers, any help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED. Thank You.

ANSWER:

Neither tulips nor daffodils are native to North America.  As such, they are really outside of our area of expertise.  However, we can give you some general advice that might help.

Central Florida is really too far south for tulips to perennialize, that is, come back year after year.  You can purchase potted tulips and plant them out as very short-lived annuals, but that is about as well as you're likely to do with them in Ocala.  The University of Florida Extension Service has published a nice online article on Bulbs for Florida.

While tricky, it is possible to grow some daffodils in Florida.  A great resource for you is the website of the Florida Daffodil Society.  Additionally, you can find some excellent growing guidelines at the website of the American Daffodil Society.

As champions of native plants, we would be remiss in passing up an opportunity to encourage you to discover the joys of Central Florida's native flora - plants truly in their place.  A great place to start and a wonderful resource is the Marion County chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society!

 

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