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
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 Trees Questions

Care of lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
June 09, 2008 - How do I care for a Lemon Cypress tree? Does it require a lot of sun? How often should I water it? It is 18" high and I have it in a pot on my screen porch. Thank-you
view the full question and answer

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

Texas wild olive for Summerfield FL
January 17, 2013 - I want to buy a Texas Wild Olive for my home in Summerfield, Fl. My landscaper brought me a regular olive tree saying he had never heard of a Texas Olive Tree in our area. I have looked on line withou...
view the full question and answer

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
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