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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 02, 2009

From: Syracuse, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Why will my blazing stars not bloom in Syracuse New York?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have two purple blazing star plants on the west side of my house, about 4 feet apart. They have bloomed the past two summers. This year, one is ready to bloom, but the other has no stalks that will bloom. It just has the leaves, but no stalks forming. What happened? Should I get a new plant? Will it bloom next year?

ANSWER:

"Blazing star" is a part of the common  name of 19 different plants in our Native Plant Datbase. Since you are writing from New York, Mr. Smarty Plants is guessing that you may have Liatris spicata (dense blazing star). Clicking on this link brings up its NPIN page where we can learn some things about this plant such as; its a perennial growing from 3 to 6 ft., it likes full sun, mosit soil, and slightly acidic soil (pH 6.8), and it attracts song birds and humming birds.

Since  your blazing stars were flowering and now they are not, you need to try to determine what has changed; are they getting less sun light?  Has the amount of watering changed?  Has the pH of the soil changed? All of these can affect flowering.

What about fertilization? Flowering is also affected by the ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorus in the soil. If the nitrogen is higher than phosphorus, flowering is inhibited in many plants. If you use regular lawn fertiliser in your flower bed, or if lawn fertilizer accidently gets into the flower bed while you are fertilizing the lawn, the Nitrogen/Phosphorus ratio can get out of balance. This article from Gardening-Advisor  has some good advice about fertilizers and fertilizing.

For some help closer to home, you may want to contact the folks at the Onodaga County Office of Cornell Cooperative Extension.


Liatris spicata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Does a cenizo really predict rain in Austin?
July 18, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, folklore has it that the flowering of Cenizo (aka Barometer Bush) is a predictor of rain fall. The Cenizo in South Austin is blooming profusely right now. Does this portend a Noac...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a property near a conservation area in MD
July 18, 2011 - Can you tell me what native plants and the type of landscaping that would be good to plant in front of a forest conservation area that is on a steep hill behind our future house? It is located in Manc...
view the full question and answer

Can Carolina wild petunia be planted over septic tank in Nokomis FL
July 10, 2011 - Could you tell me the root depth of the Ruellia caroliniensis/ Carolina wild petunia? Trying to determine if I can plant it over septic tank.
view the full question and answer

Compatibility of mixed ground covers with St. Agustine grass
March 04, 2015 - My husband and I live in Northwest Austin. We have removed lawn from our front yard and replaced it with mulch and some trees and other plantings. We would like to replace the lawn in our backyard ...
view the full question and answer

What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
January 11, 2009 - I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center