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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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Saturday - August 02, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Failure to bloom of Tecoma stans in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We Planted a Yellow Esperanza shrub 2 years ago that was blooming when we purchased it. It bloomed very little last year and not at all this year. It looks very healthy and each year gets about 10 feet tall. It has very green leaves and when we prune it it develops 2 branches for every one we cut. How do we make this plant bloom?

ANSWER:

Please see our previous answer on the same subject, also in Central Texas. Your problem is likely not transplant shock; however, the plant is probably still developing roots and getting the energy to bloom. If you are fertilizing it, especially with a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer like you would use on grass, stop. Most perennial plants need a few years of maturity before they are ready to bloom in earnest. Often, plant producers will force blooms on a plant to make it more saleworthy, but that doesn't mean it is ready to bloom on its own. Do check the drainage around the roots of your plant, although that doesn't sound like the problem. A little more patience and a little less fertilizer and we believe it will rise to bloom again.

 

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