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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 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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Monday - July 12, 2010

From: West Monroe, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Fertilizer for non-native Althea in West Monroe LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What type of fertilizer is best for Althea Bushes

ANSWER:

Hibiscus syriacus, Althea or Rose of Sharon, is native to China and Taiwan and therefore falls out of our range of expertise, which is plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. We found one reference to fertilizer which recommended a slow-release fertilizer for trees and shrubs in early Spring. Don't use fertilizers heavy in nitrogen, such as lawn fertilizers, as this encourages green leaves but not flowers. We also found references to this plant as invasive, seeding profusely and being difficult to control.
 

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