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

Effects of Hedysarum mackenzii from Pflugerville TX
May 08, 2013 - What are the effects of Hedysarum mackenzii?
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady sand in Florida
March 31, 2013 - We live in central Florida (directly between Orlando and Tampa). Our yard is mostly sand for soil and difficult parts in shade almost all day from large trees. What ground cover (grass) and hedges can...
view the full question and answer

Roses or other flowering plants for Coleman, Texas
March 10, 2009 - I want to plant native roses at a country home in Coleman Co., southern exposure, with well water, drip system,but ,hot, dry & windy! I know the Mutabilis does well in Austin, but, is it suitable for...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Center work on non-native, invasive Bastard Cabbage from Austin
March 20, 2014 - Still have cabbage weeds that infiltrated Austin awhile back. How did Wildflower Center resolve it?
view the full question and answer

Native perennials for Ft. Worth TX
March 17, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I have two large planters around the back side of my saltwater pool where there is no decking. (sloped landscape) 8'long x 3' wide. I need low growing perennial plants that will ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center