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

Plants for pool area in Florida
May 09, 2008 - My husband and I have a pool with 4 planters and are looking for plants that we can put into our screened in pool area. We live in Central Florida and looking for ideas of plants that are slow growin...
view the full question and answer

Problems with yellow lantana in Smoaks SC
June 05, 2010 - My yellow lantanas are about five years old - big and beautiful, but beginning last year, the blooms are small and part of the tiny petals are brown or black. Can you tell me what I can do about this ...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for hedge not toxic to horses and llamas in California
May 01, 2011 - I have goats llamas and horses, and need a short hedge that is non-toxic to them. It will be along a section of no-climb fencing, but they would be able to get to it. I lost a foal this morning and co...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for mostly shaded area in The Woodlands TX
December 19, 2012 - What large shrub will grow in a partially shaded to mostly shaded tree area in The Woodlands(Spring), Texas which is north of Houston, Texas between Houston and Conroe? The Woodlands is in the very so...
view the full question and answer

Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
September 25, 2011 - I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center