Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Saturday - August 18, 2012

From: Palm Coast, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Non-flowering Tecoma stans from Palm Coast FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an adult tecoma stans that flowered for a few days in the spring and has not flowered since. What can I do?

ANSWER:

Tecoma stans (Yellow bells) is basically a desert plant. If you follow the plant link to our web page on this plant, you will learn that it is native to New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that it also grows in Florida, in the southern tip of Florida and also Brevard County but not Flagler Co. Because Florida has such wonderful growing conditions, many plants are introduced there, and the Florida conditiions might not be ideal for them. As we said, they are desert plants and require extremely good drainage; water sitting on their roots can cause root rot. Also, most native plants do not need fertilizer and the Yellow Bells  particularly dislikes it. If, in the process of trying to get it to bloom, you have fertilized it, possibly with a high nitrogen fertilizer, that could be the problem. High nitrogen fertilizers are intended for lawn grasses, as they inspire leaf production and not blooms. If all the energy of the plant is going into leaves, it doesn't have the resources for blooming. If you planted the shrub, and put in decomposed granite or compost in order to improve the drainage, then that takes care of that problem. If you did not plant it for good drainage, or it was already on your property, then we suspect that is the problem.

Was this the plant's first full season in the ground? It ordinarily blooms from April to November, but if it is a young plant it may not have matured sufficiently to bloom any more. It takes a great deal of energy for a plant to bloom, and if something is going on that is not favorable, the plant may be coping with that and not have the energy to bloom.

So, we would recommend, first of all, patience. Second, if you don't believe the plant has been properly planted for drainage, try to work a little compost into the soil around the roots, and cover the roots with more compost. As that compost decomposes, it will amend the soil and improve the drainage. Don't water too much, remember, desert plant, and no fertilizer.

One last thing, if Yellow Bells is not growing well in Flagler County, it could be a soil problem. From our webpage on this plant:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
 Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well drained, rocky, limestone, sand, and loam soils
Conditions Comments:  Varieties sold in nurseries may be from tropical stock and not do so well in US cold. Yellow bells is drought tolerant and Southwestern varieties are adapted to monsoon rains with dry spells between. They may flower better if such conditions are emulated in planned landscapes, so allow ground to dry out between waterings. "

"Native Habitat: High elevations, hillsides, slopes, canyons"

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

More Shrubs Questions

Fruit crops to grow in Tennessee mountains
May 27, 2013 - My property has a lot of rock formations throughout it and has hundreds of cedars where it is not pasture. I am wanting to grow fruit trees and berry bushes but don't know what can grow in this e...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bush with red berries
March 11, 2013 - bush? grows along fence lines in rural areas; sheds foliage in fall; berries appear; colors vary from red to orange, depending on soil?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Wax Myrtle trees & bushes
February 28, 2016 - When is the best time of year to prune Wax Myrtle trees & bushes.
view the full question and answer

Flowering evergreen plant for ceramic pot
April 02, 2013 - I have a deep ceramic pot that I would like to put in a flowering evergreen plant or bush. It is on the deck facing west but with north and south exposure and afternoon sun.
view the full question and answer

Planting Suggestions for a Lake Home in Wayne County, MO
April 03, 2014 - We have a lake home in Wayne County, MO at Lake Wappapello. The soil is very rocky. We recently cleared an area around our home of assorted dead trees, some cedars and what seemed like tons of vines. ...
view the full question and answer

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