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 Non-Natives Questions

Non-native and invasive bamboos from Staten Island, NY
May 19, 2013 - Hi I put some black Bamboo and some bias Bamboo in a large container about 6ft by 2ft and ht 18 inches .How can I get this Bamboo to thrive ? Suggestions on types of plant food or fertilizer or ant t...
view the full question and answer

Control of non-native invasive ground ivy in Grand Junction TN
May 08, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in the Southwest portion of TN about 50 miles east of Memphis. We have an invasive plant, called Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea L in our yard and pasture now which is ta...
view the full question and answer

Non-native jade plant from Pauline SC
August 24, 2012 - Do jade plants grow in South Carolina; if, so where?
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native impatiens from Charlottesville VA
June 09, 2011 - Question about type of impatiens. My Alabama mother grew these and called them touch-me-not. They grow about 2 feet tall and blooms grow UNDER the leaf canopy up the stem. Colors I have are pale pink ...
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