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 - May 20, 2009

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Failure to bloom of 4-year-old redbud in Rochester, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a redbud four years ago and it still hasn't flowered - it does get the lovely leaves. When I planted it it was only an 18 inch stick. How long before it will bloom or is something wrong?

ANSWER:

Generally speaking, plants bloom when they are good and ready, and we don't have much luck predicting when that will be. Plants need to bloom, and therefore to set seed, in order to propagate themselves, so you have to know the tree will bloom at some point. If you have not detected any insect problems or signs of disease, there probably isn't anything wrong. One caution, careful with the fertlizer. Trees native to an area, as Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) is to New York, ordinarily don't even need to be fertilized, and you should avoid the high nitrogen fertilizers, like lawn food. These are formulated to make the plant green, which is what you want from grass. The problem is, that same formulation can deter blooming. The plant just gets lazy, decides it doesn't need to bloom to survive, and has lovely green leaves.  We prescribe patience and cutting nitrogen from the diet.


Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Smoketree not flowering in Beverly Hills CA
June 29, 2011 - Why is my Smoke tree not flowering? It is big and the leaves are beautiful but no blooms.
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for street trees for Texarkana TX
July 23, 2013 - Texarkana, TX, is going to replace a few and add some new street trees downtown. The engineers specified crape myrtle. When I asked if they would consider native trees instead, I was told they thought...
view the full question and answer

Trees for pool area in San Ramon, California
April 24, 2010 - We live in San Ramon. We are remodeling our pool and are looking for a tree that will be 15 feet from a pool. We just removed a pine tree. We have now lost our privacy and see the neighbor's back f...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

Sticky white substance from Arizona Ash tree in Arlington TX
June 11, 2009 - Our Arizona Ash Tree is producing a white substance that floats down from the tree almost like a snowflake the size of a bb. You cannot see it on the tree/leaves. When it lands on the car, it takes th...
view the full question and answer

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