En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Flowering problems with Mexican Plum and Mimosa in Austin, TX

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
2 ratings

Thursday - March 18, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Flowering problems with Mexican Plum and Mimosa in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Greetings, My Prunus mexicana (Mexican Plum) did not produce flowers before its leaves. Can you tell me why? I was hoping to have some fruit this year. Also, as of this morning March 13. My Mimosa has not bloomed nor has any leaves. I do see a few green shoots and the branches are pliable. Does it need phosphorus?

ANSWER:

Let me begin by stating that the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable conservation of native wildflower, plants and landscapes. Mexican plum Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) is right down our alley. Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin (silk tree), not so much.

The Mexican Plum is a native to North America and occurs in Texas from the northeast southward to the Edwards Plateau and into Mexico. Its showy, fragrant white flowers that are followed by juicy fruit in the summer make it a desirable ornamental plant throughout Central Texas. In the case of your tree, I have a couple of questions.

Did the tree flower last year? If the answer is yes, you need to determine what has changed since then. What about fertilizer?  Often times, absence of flowering is a result of a change in the relative amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous (the nitrogen/phosphorous ratio). If the ratio of N/P is high, flowering can be inhibited. The imbalance can occur if the tree is getting too much lawn fertilizer which has higher nitrogen levels. Keep this in mind for next spring. Since the leaves are already out, your tree is not going to flower this spring. If the answer is no, then we need to know the age of the tree. Perhaps it isn't old enough to flower. This link from Zanthan Gardens gives a chronology of a gardener's experience with his Mexican Plum that might prove helpful.

Mimosa is a native of China and was introduced into the United States in 1745 where it has been cultivated extensively as an ornamental. It has become a popular ornamental because of its showy and fragrant flowers. However it has been classified as a Category II invasive by Florida's Exotic Pest Plant Council.  The link suggests some plants that might be used as alternatives to Mimosa.

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

It may be too early for Mimosa to flower in Austin.

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Forget-me-nots choking a spring in Bethlehem PA
June 20, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am restoring a native plant area along a spring that feeds directly into our local creek. Right now the spring is becoming choked with forget-me-nots, that I am trying ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native genista racemosa from Leander TX
March 28, 2012 - Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants. I fear I've made a horrible purchase at a local plant place. Bought a "broom" plant--it's not listed in your database. Latin name: genista racemosa, according to tag. ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a young lilac
November 05, 2012 - This past spring I planted a hybrid lilac in the ground. The weather here has started to get cold, and much more so at night. Also, the temperatures go from warm to cold and back again as if unsure wh...
view the full question and answer

Invasiveness of Cosmos from Decatur GA
April 26, 2013 - I have been searching for an answer concerning the invasive plant Cosmos. I know that Florida declares this but I have not been able to find out does Georgia? And specifically,is it only the yellow Co...
view the full question and answer

Decline of non-native weeping willow
June 30, 2008 - I live in Breckenridge, Texas and last year I planted a Weeping Willow tree on my property. It grew fine and seemed to be very healthy until this month. All of a sudden it has steadily lost all its ...
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