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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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Sunday - September 19, 2010

From: Lecanto, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Goldenrod not blooming in Lecanto FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My goldenrod(fireworks) grows only like a groundcover(3" tall) and does not flower. It is in full sun in my garden in Lecanto, Florida(zone 9A). What could be wrong? Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are 60 members of the genus Solidago, 18 of which are native to Florida. The name 'Fireworks" is apparently a trade name for Solidago rugosa (Rough-leaved goldenrod). According to the USDA Plant Profile, it grows mostly in the Florida Panhandle, but these profiles are often out of date and we feel sure your plant will do well in Citrus County.

From the page on this plant in our Native Plant Database, we first learned that it blooms in September, grows 3 to 6 ft., and likes well-drained soils and sun. Then, in this Connecticut Botanical Society website, we found a picture of it as a ground cover, and the information that it grows from July to October.

So, we're scratching our heads. There are some sub-species that might grow slightly differently, but it is more likely that you have a plant that was bred by selecting shorter versions of the plant. Also, if it blooms in July to October in Connecticut, pehaps it is still too warm in Florida. Or, if you have been using high-nitrogen lawn-type fertilizer on your flower beds, that frequently encourages more leaves and discourages flowering.

Unless you are observing chewed leaves or small insects on the plant, we believe it is doing okay. If it does begin to bloom, begin to prune off the older blooms to encourage more blooming for the late Fall migrating butterflies.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Solidago rugosa


Solidago rugosa

 






 

 

 

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