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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

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!

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

 
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Saturday - July 18, 2009

From: Plymouth, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Failure to bloom of non-native lilac in Plymouth MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My five year old lilacs are not blooming, WHY?

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are in plants native to North America. Common lilac or lilac bush (Syringa vulgaris) is a European native that has been naturalized in North America. It only blooms for about two weeks, early in the Spring, and then it's through for the year. We can guide you to sources that will have the answers to your lilac bush care problems. According to The Gardener's Network, the most important thing about pruning your lilac is to do so as soon as it has finished blooming. and before its seeds have completely formed and set. This will encourage the plant to bloom heartily next year. Another reason to prune immediately after the tree has bloomed is that the flower buds for next year's flowers form early. If you wait too long after this year's blooming has finished, you risk the possibility of trimming off next year's buds. Your can read more about care of your lilac on the International Lilac Society webpage and on the Syringa Plus webpage.
 

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