Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Wednesday - April 11, 2012

From: Kansas City, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs
Title: Plant similar to forsythia for Kansas City KS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to plant a plant very similar to Forsythia. I want it to be tall 4-5 ft tall. Need something that leaf changing, something besides burning bush.Former area rose beds 4 x 4 (two areas) Right beside screen front porch. What do you suggest?

ANSWER:

We are always touched by the faith of our patrons in Mr. Smarty Plants' ability to reach into our vast store of gardening knowledge, and pull out the exact plant they have created in their minds. In the first place, "vast" is not the word we would use to describe our garden wisdom. Before we look for a plant that is "like" forsythia, we have to find out what forsythia is like. We would like to go to our Native Plant Database to get information, but since it is not native to North America, we can't do that.

For instance, we know that forsythia x intermedia is native to China, and will grow in Kansas. We found out that it blooms from late March to mid-April, for a period of about 2 weeks. It needs full sun or light shade, and well-drained soils with supplementary watering during hot, dry spells. Here is an Ohio State University article on Forsythia x intermedia for more information.

Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America we well as to the areas where they grow naturally, we will go to our Native Plant Database, use the Combination Search, searching on Kansas for state, full sun to part shade under Light Requirements and moist soils under Soil Moisture. We'll even throw in yellow in Bloom  Color and March and April in Bloom Time, plus, of course, height of 3 to 6 feet tall under Size. Click on Submit Combination Search.

We got zero results. So, we'll be a little more reasonable, and make fewer specifications. We'll go with Kansas, shrub, full sun and part shade, and 3-6 feet tall. this gave us 16 results, from which we chose 6 that came close. Follow each plant link to our page on that plant to learn its characteristics. Then, having learned to use our database, you can go in and make your own searches or selections.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie redroot
Ceanothus herbaceus

Crimson-eyed rose-mallow
Hibiscus moscheutos

Fragrant mimosa
Mimosa borealis

Oklahoma plum
Prunus gracilis

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

More Shrubs Questions

Enough sun from San Marcos TX
February 22, 2013 - I would like to plant both Lantana urticoides and Salvia farinacea in area that only has morning to 1pm sun..Will this amount of sun be enough?
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Desert Hibiscus Coulteri from Lubbock, TX
October 20, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We have in our garden this year 2 volunteer Desert Hibiscus Coulteri----quite lanky! I notice on your website under "comments" someone notes they should be cut back "nearly...
view the full question and answer

Origin of name of hybrid Ilex x attenuata
December 11, 2010 - Could you please tell me where Eagleson, or also called Eagleston Holly got its name ?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Replacing yellow bells with hibiscus from San Antonio
July 03, 2012 - Help! Will the roots of the yellow bells keep sprouting if I've removed the shrub? I'm replacing it with a hibiscus shrub. Will it do well in the same spot where the yellow bells were?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.