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
1 rating

Saturday - August 18, 2012

From: Palm Coast, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Non-flowering Tecoma stans from Palm Coast FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an adult tecoma stans that flowered for a few days in the spring and has not flowered since. What can I do?

ANSWER:

Tecoma stans (Yellow bells) is basically a desert plant. If you follow the plant link to our web page on this plant, you will learn that it is native to New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that it also grows in Florida, in the southern tip of Florida and also Brevard County but not Flagler Co. Because Florida has such wonderful growing conditions, many plants are introduced there, and the Florida conditiions might not be ideal for them. As we said, they are desert plants and require extremely good drainage; water sitting on their roots can cause root rot. Also, most native plants do not need fertilizer and the Yellow Bells  particularly dislikes it. If, in the process of trying to get it to bloom, you have fertilized it, possibly with a high nitrogen fertilizer, that could be the problem. High nitrogen fertilizers are intended for lawn grasses, as they inspire leaf production and not blooms. If all the energy of the plant is going into leaves, it doesn't have the resources for blooming. If you planted the shrub, and put in decomposed granite or compost in order to improve the drainage, then that takes care of that problem. If you did not plant it for good drainage, or it was already on your property, then we suspect that is the problem.

Was this the plant's first full season in the ground? It ordinarily blooms from April to November, but if it is a young plant it may not have matured sufficiently to bloom any more. It takes a great deal of energy for a plant to bloom, and if something is going on that is not favorable, the plant may be coping with that and not have the energy to bloom.

So, we would recommend, first of all, patience. Second, if you don't believe the plant has been properly planted for drainage, try to work a little compost into the soil around the roots, and cover the roots with more compost. As that compost decomposes, it will amend the soil and improve the drainage. Don't water too much, remember, desert plant, and no fertilizer.

One last thing, if Yellow Bells is not growing well in Flagler County, it could be a soil problem. From our webpage on this plant:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
 Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well drained, rocky, limestone, sand, and loam soils
Conditions Comments:  Varieties sold in nurseries may be from tropical stock and not do so well in US cold. Yellow bells is drought tolerant and Southwestern varieties are adapted to monsoon rains with dry spells between. They may flower better if such conditions are emulated in planned landscapes, so allow ground to dry out between waterings. "

"Native Habitat: High elevations, hillsides, slopes, canyons"

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

More Shrubs Questions

Erosion Control for a Shaded Slope in Aliquippa PA
May 07, 2014 - What plants. shrubs or trees can I plant to retard soil erosion on a steep shaded hillside in PA
view the full question and answer

Yaupon sprouts from Bennettsville SC
May 29, 2013 - I have Yaupons in a flower bed and they have too many shoots to pull up, can I spray them with roundup and not kill the bush and what strength should I use?
view the full question and answer

Blueberry bushes failing to leaf out in Haines Falls, NY
June 25, 2009 - Blueberry bushes planted in spring in upstate New York; no leaves, only the stem. How do we know if they are alive? Blueberries do very well in that area known as Haines Falls, New York (mountain a...
view the full question and answer

Pests on American Beautyberry from Austin
June 25, 2012 - Something is eating the leaves of my American Beautyberry shrubs. One is almost stripped of leaves on the upper branches. I have looked and can't see any insects or caterpillars. I have also looke...
view the full question and answer

Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
August 22, 2011 - Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?
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