En Español

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?


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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 19, 2010

From: Lecanto, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Goldenrod not blooming in Lecanto FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My goldenrod(fireworks) grows only like a groundcover(3" tall) and does not flower. It is in full sun in my garden in Lecanto, Florida(zone 9A). What could be wrong? Thank you.


There are 60 members of the genus Solidago, 18 of which are native to Florida. The name 'Fireworks" is apparently a trade name for Solidago rugosa (Rough-leaved goldenrod). According to the USDA Plant Profile, it grows mostly in the Florida Panhandle, but these profiles are often out of date and we feel sure your plant will do well in Citrus County.

From the page on this plant in our Native Plant Database, we first learned that it blooms in September, grows 3 to 6 ft., and likes well-drained soils and sun. Then, in this Connecticut Botanical Society website, we found a picture of it as a ground cover, and the information that it grows from July to October.

So, we're scratching our heads. There are some sub-species that might grow slightly differently, but it is more likely that you have a plant that was bred by selecting shorter versions of the plant. Also, if it blooms in July to October in Connecticut, pehaps it is still too warm in Florida. Or, if you have been using high-nitrogen lawn-type fertilizer on your flower beds, that frequently encourages more leaves and discourages flowering.

Unless you are observing chewed leaves or small insects on the plant, we believe it is doing okay. If it does begin to bloom, begin to prune off the older blooms to encourage more blooming for the late Fall migrating butterflies.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Solidago rugosa

Solidago rugosa





More Pruning Questions

Do yuccas die after blooming?
October 11, 2010 - We have a blue yucca which was planted 2 years ago and is just now blooming with a tower of white flowers. Will the entire plant die after blooming as the century plants do? If so, is there a way to s...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Esperanza from Austin
June 06, 2012 - I have an Esperanza plant. I've had this plant for over 5 years. Its in a large pot. The plant has NEVER bloomed. I fertilize maybe once a month and dont seem to be over watering, only when I notice ...
view the full question and answer

Eradication of mahonia repens
July 27, 2008 - What is the best way to kill and/or remove mahonia repens?
view the full question and answer

Removal of honeysuckle bushes from Coaldale Alberta Canada
July 30, 2010 - I have 2 honeysuckle bushes that I want to get rid of. I am wondering if Honeysuckle bushes have very deep roots (are they hard to dig out?) I am 70 years old and didn't know if I'd be able to dig ...
view the full question and answer

Reducing the Height of a Redbud Tree
January 23, 2016 - We have a very large, about 15-year old, Redbud tree that is growing so tall it's obstructing our view of the river. How and when can we prune this tree back so it does not hurt the tree.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center