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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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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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Thursday - June 26, 2014

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Failure of Rock roses to bloom in Wimberly
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

How do we get our rock roses to bloom. Our bushy plant has grown well but for the last two years seed pods form directly without noticeable blooms

ANSWER:

Well you aren’t giving Mr. Smarty Plants much help coming up with an answer. You didn’t say anything about its growth conditions (sun or shade, dry conditions or wet conditions, ), whether it is in a pot or in the soil, or how old it is. The statement about seed pod formation without noticeable blooms is puzzling

 I have found that there are at least three plants that share the common name Rock Rose: Cistus, Helianthemum, and Pavonia Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock rose) (also see); all of which have showy flowers. However the flowers of  Cistus albidus last only a day.

I'm not sure which plant we are talking about here, but there are plants whose flowering is inhibited by an imbalance in the the nutrients that are available in the soil, particularly the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus (N/P). Too much nitrogen may result in poor flowering. If the plant has been getting regular lawn fertilizer which often has a high N/P ratio, this could account for the lack of flowering. Lets look at fertilizer a bit more closely.

The most common elements that are found in fertilizers are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), and fertilizers containing these three elements are termed complete fertilizers. Fertilizers differ in the relative amount of these elements that they contain, and this information is found on the label of the fertilizer container (bag, bottle, etc.) It is represented by three numbers eg 1-1-1, or 5-10-5, or 3-1-2, which are the percentages of the elements; N, P, and K in that order.
This link to Central Texas Gardening has some good tips about proper use of fertilizers

For help identifying your plan, go to our Plant Identification  page and follow the directions for sending photos to the plant forums listed there.


 

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