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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 27, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Fertilizer producing leaves over flower production in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you please list which Central Texas perennials' will favor leaf growth over flower production when fertilized? I have many in the "Grown Green" booklet and need to know which flowering plants should not be fertilized. Thank you.

ANSWER:

If the "Grow Green" booklet is the one we are thinking of, it includes plants that have adapted to Central Texas but are not necessarily native to Central Texas. One of the main arguments for using native plants is that a plant that has evolved over millennia in an area will be able to get along well without any outside intervention. Plants evolved to live in Central Texas are prepared for droughts, clay soil, high wind, heat and the insects that are also native here. Native plants do not demand fertilizer in order to survive, and some, like Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) do not like to be fertilized. Native wildflower seeds, like Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), can live in the soil for years until some rain comes along. You can check in our Native Plant Database, using either the common name or the botanical name to search for the plants in your garden and indicate Texas for the state. If they don't appear in that database, they are probably non-native. Some may be native to other parts of the country, and some may be hybrids, which takes them out of our classification of "native." If you only know your plant by some trade name selected by retailers to catch the eye, you can try Googling on that name and see what you can find out about what the plant really is. Most native plants will not keel over and die if they are fertilized, but why spend the time and money as well as adding something else that can run off into our water tables?

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Pruning Lyreleaf Sage from McAllen TX
April 14, 2013 - I planted a few Lyre Leaf Sage last year and they bloomed beautifully. I let them seed out and had a number of new plants show up this year. I have never cut the flower/seed stalks back and now that ...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for Waynesville MO
April 09, 2013 - We moved to Waynesville, MO (gardening region 6) and when we bought our house there was a nice looking gardening area in front of the house. It is shaded moderately by a Redwood Tree and was "occupie...
view the full question and answer

How do Venus flytraps really work?
May 13, 2010 - How do venus flytraps *really* work? I've read it has something to do with the hairs in their "mouth," but is there a chemical reaction going on? A physical "trigger"? Help me understand the Venu...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
May 18, 2008 - I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way...
view the full question and answer

Picking flowers of bulbs from Cloverdale CA
April 22, 2014 - Will picking the flowers of native bulb plants, such as Trillium, Blue Dicks, Fawn Lilies, kill the plant or keep it from reproducing? I do not condone this action but know people who do it.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center