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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!

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Wednesday - March 24, 2010

From: San Marcos , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Planting, Trees
Title: Why is my 3 year old Redbud not flowering in San Marcos, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My Cercis canadensis var. mexicana, purchased at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, is 3 years old, very robust, but has never bloomed. Any explanation?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that a three year old, robust red bud is old enough to flower, so lets look elsewhere for an explanation. Two factors that can influence flowering are sunlight and fertilizer. Is it getting enough sunlight? The light for requirement for Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud) calls for full sun to partial shade. The more sun, the better the flowering (at least 6 hours per day).

Flowering is aslo affected by the nutrient balance in the soil; particularly the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus (the N/P ratio). If the N/P ratio gets too high, flowering can be inhibited. This can happen if your tree is receiving too much regular lawn fertilizer (which is generally higher in nitrogen). The pH of the soil can affect the availability certain nutrients.

This link from Colorado State University Extension provides good information about phosphorus fertilizerrs.

 

 

 

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