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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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Friday - June 23, 2006

From: Chisholm,, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning of Hamelia patens, Firebush
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a Hamelia Patens (Fire Bush) it says it will grow to 12 feet high and 5-6 feet across. Can I keep pruning it to about 5 feet without damaging the shrub?

ANSWER:

Firebush (Hamelia patens) responds very well to pruning. The best time to prune is in late winter/early spring before it begins putting on new growth. The plant rarely grows to more than about 8' if left to its own devices, but I wouldn't be surprised to see 12-footers in ideal locations. Pruning in the summer will remove a lot of flower buds, but it can be done safely.

 

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