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?


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

Saturday - May 02, 2009

From: North East, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Non-blooming blue-eyed grass in Northeast Maryland
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I purchased blue eyed grass(sisyrinchium angustifolium)It was in bloom when I planted it, but has never bloomed since. It looks healthy and gets full sun, but for at least 3 years or more, it has never bloomed. Please help...


From our webpage on Sisyrinchium angustifolium (narrowleaf blue-eyed grass), we learned that it is NOT a grass, but rather a primitive iris, and member of the Iridaceae family. We also found out that this short-lived perennial will decline if allowed to dry out. Heavy mulch causes crown rot and rich, organic soils encourage rank, vegetative growth. Plants need to be divided at least every other year. It is native to Maryland and, while it likes semi-shaded conditions, it blooms better in the sun. What we never did learn was why it is not blooming for you. About the only suggestion we can make at this point is that you avoid fertilizing it, especially with high-nitrogen fertilizers, like you would use on a real grass. Honestly, it sounds like it does better when it's neglected a little bit, not in rich organic soils, not fertilized. Try a little benign neglect, and see if it doesn't get its act together. Plants all need to reproduce and to reproduce they must bloom and produce seeds. If life is too easy for your blue-eyed grass, it might just roll over and go back to sleep, forgetting to wake up and bloom. 

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Sisyrinchium angustifolium




More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
May 25, 2008 - I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Perennial blooming plants for Ashland MO
April 02, 2010 - I am beginning to create a flower bed in front of my house, I do not have a green thumb so I want to know what plants would come back yearly and I can plant now in Mid Missouri?
view the full question and answer

Germinating Milkweed Seeds
January 23, 2015 - When is the best time to plant milkweed seeds outside? I was told when the overnight temperature hits 70 F. (our garden is in Lakeway, Texas). So around late May? Is this when the seeds germinate i...
view the full question and answer

Bringing Non-native Cannas out of Winter Storage
February 15, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants - Is it possible to force canna tubers? Would placing them on a heating pad help? I am in Ohio - zone 5. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center