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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

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!

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

 
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Sunday - June 17, 2012

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with balanced fertilizer. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Here is the likely previous Mr. Smarty Plants question to which you refer. The facts in that still apply, even though you are in a different part of Texas. We have no additional information on that plant, because it is non-native and outside of our expertise. Ordinarily, if a plant is native to the area where it is being grown, we advise against the use of fertilizer, because a native plant is already accustomed by centuries of experience to the soil, climate and rainfall of the area. Over-fertilization is often to blame for the failure to bloom, but since we don't know what the conditions of the Canary Islands (to which this plant is native) are, we can't know if the overuse of fertilizer is to blame for the absence of blooms.

 

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