Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 20, 2009

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Failure to bloom of 4-year-old redbud in Rochester, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a redbud four years ago and it still hasn't flowered - it does get the lovely leaves. When I planted it it was only an 18 inch stick. How long before it will bloom or is something wrong?

ANSWER:

Generally speaking, plants bloom when they are good and ready, and we don't have much luck predicting when that will be. Plants need to bloom, and therefore to set seed, in order to propagate themselves, so you have to know the tree will bloom at some point. If you have not detected any insect problems or signs of disease, there probably isn't anything wrong. One caution, careful with the fertlizer. Trees native to an area, as Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) is to New York, ordinarily don't even need to be fertilized, and you should avoid the high nitrogen fertilizers, like lawn food. These are formulated to make the plant green, which is what you want from grass. The problem is, that same formulation can deter blooming. The plant just gets lazy, decides it doesn't need to bloom to survive, and has lovely green leaves.  We prescribe patience and cutting nitrogen from the diet.


Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Yellowing of Thuja occidentalis leaves in early Fall in Maryland
September 12, 2006 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am from Maryland. Please help. I have planted 23 Thuja occidentalis Smaragd in my front yard a few months ago. Height of about 3 feet. Most of the trees have turned golden brown....
view the full question and answer

Shumard oak or live oak in Waco TX?
October 02, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I planted 2 small Shumard oaks in my front yard (east side of the house, 8-9 hours of sun per day) 18 months ago. Both had been purchased from a national chain store's garden ...
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for privacy screen in Richmond, VA
February 27, 2013 - Hello, I read through the previous posts on privacy screen plantings in the Mid Atlantic region. There was a lot of great information, but I has a specific question that was not answered. I would li...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
September 21, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the proper...
view the full question and answer

Dog eats Celtis laevigata, sugar hackberry
May 21, 2012 - This is an odd question but I am a biologist and have for years notice an odd behavior in my Golden Retriever. When he gets stomach distress or something makes him nervous like an incoming thunderstor...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.