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

Monday - April 04, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Failure to bloom of Eve's necklacepod in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a young Eve's necklace that never blooms in the spring. I wonder every spring if this will be the year, but the blooms never come. Is there a reason for this? The tree is about three or four years old, is now about 5' tall. It gets great morning sun, but afternoon shade. It is planted in well draining soil, probably alkaline. Fairly near to this tree we planted--in the same soil--two Mexican Buckeyes that bloomed their first year. I am not sure if this tree has a gender, or if I need to fertilize or what. Thanks!

ANSWER:

When we are asked a question we don't know the answer to, we always start with the basics first. That is usually "is this a plant that belongs where it is being grown?" The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklace) does indeed grow in Travis County, so it's in the right place, and probably the right soil.

So, next, is it getting the right amount of sun? According to the webpage in our Native Plant Database, this plant requires part shade, which we consider to be 2 to 6 hours of sun a day. Most blooming plants do need a good deal of sunlight in order to bloom well, but it sounds like you have the right amount of sun, too.

Also from that plant page: "The planting site must be well-drained or it will get chlorotic." That means that the leaves are not getting enough manganese and iron from the soil to create chlorophyll, usually because of poor drainage or root damage. We can't see that this should affect the blooming, unless the health of the whole plant has been compromised. Another possibility might be the fertilizer you are using. If the plant sits in a grassy area that is fertilized, it might be getting too much nitrogen. Lawn fertilizers are high nitrogen, to encourage lots of green leaves, which is what lawn grass is. On the other hand, if a plant is working hard to create all the leaves the nitrogen is inspiring, it may run out of the vigor to produce blooms, too. Most native plants do not need fertilizing if they are being grown under the right conditions, and this plant particularly does not like fertilizer.

So far, we are batting 000 here. Next, we'll go online. The first article we found is from Landscape Mafia.com. Next, The Dirt Doctor. We are trying, honest, but we are just not finding anything about the age at which this plant blooms. Native Plant Society of Texas.

Okay-UNCLE! We are not usually totally stumped, but we can simply find no information on whether your plant is old enough to bloom. We suspect that this is because there has been no scientific study on this plant related to its development. If you are satisfied that you are providing all the other necessary conditions for this plant to thrive, we suggest you be patient another year or so. On the bright side: the flowers and seeds of this plant are poisonous.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Styphnolobium affine


Styphnolobium affine


Styphnolobium affine


Styphnolobium affine

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
January 01, 2014 - I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow...
view the full question and answer

Low water hedge for Sedona, AZ
August 19, 2009 - I'm looking for a shrub to plant along a 90' property line with my neighbor in Sedona, Arizona (high desert). Ideally, the shrub would grow to about 8' and would not require too much water. What wo...
view the full question and answer

Has overwatering harmed cherry laurels in Austin?
September 27, 2011 - I am so upset. I know we've been having a terrible drought this year in Austin, and I've been trying to balance water conservation with protecting our recent very large investment for massive lands...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
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