Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 26, 2011

From: Norman, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning
Title: Is Liatris spicata through blooming from Norman OK
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a Liatris spicata, I thought it was done blooming (dried tops), so I cut them off. Will it come back and bloom again? What can I do?

ANSWER:

Liatris spicata (Dense blazing star) is listed on our webpage on this plant as blooming  July, August and September. This plant grows clear up to Canada and blooming dates vary with the USDA Hardiness Zone in which they are being grown. They may start early in the cycle here, where it is so hot, and later up north, where they may not begin to bloom until August. Due to the incredible heat and drought we are having, plants are trying to bloom just enough to set seeds, and then settling in to try to survive. Cutting the dead blooms back was probably the right thing to do, it will take some of the burden off of the plant roots. It still needs leaves to provide nutrition for the roots, and you want to keep the roots alive because this is a perennial and will bloom again next year. Don't fertilize it-fertilizer encourages a plant to grow more leaves, and plants are all under enough stress trying to stay alive right now. We don't need to be adding to that stress by trying to push them into growing more. Keep it evenly watered and hope that next year will be more moderate.

 

From the Image Gallery


Dense blazing star
Liatris spicata

Dense blazing star
Liatris spicata

More Pruning Questions

Seeds of agave attenuata from San Diego CA
April 16, 2012 - After the agave attenuata bloom dried up there are seeds like thing hanging on the foxtail; do I leave it until it dies or do I chop that down. Are those seeds for propagation. The leaves of the plan...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados from San Antonio
August 26, 2011 - I have some very successful wildly blooming "Dwarf Pride of Barbados" plants growing in my xeriscape garden. Each year I cut them back to the ground. I have just purchased a new variety called "...
view the full question and answer

Rose care for Austin
August 18, 2013 - I am a transplant from the Pacific NW and need to relearn rose care for Austin. When is the best time to cut back the roses, or do I even bother? I also need to find out how far back I can trimming a...
view the full question and answer

Winter pruning for yucca in Adrian, Michigan
October 11, 2010 - Can I cut yucca plants down for winter months.
view the full question and answer

Can I save my century plant by cutting the flowering stalk in Austin, TX? Probably not.
April 28, 2010 - Our century plant is starting to sprout it's flower (four feet). If we cut it down can we save the plant? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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