The Buzz

Seasons and Plants

Those of us who work in the plant industry are often asked why a certain tree or shrub performed as it did this spring or early spring. Some questions can be answered by looking back at the previous seasons of fall and winter. 

This fall and winter seasons started out mild and warm, then progressed to cold and rainy. This weather pattern contributes to the spring color experience, as it does every year.  For example, a warm dry fall will typically cause a shorter fall color season.

This past fall and winter have influenced groups of plants that makes us take notice. Daffodils are one group that did not perform as we might expect and are used to seeing in years past. 


This winter had some cold days, but not cold weeks or months. This causes the bulb not to conserve the energy (bloom power), as it would in a longer winter. After the daffodils start to bloom, rain can shorten the time the flowers are in prime condition. Heavy, long rain events like we experience the past few weeks really can hurt our daffodil presence.

A group of plants that has thrived in their color display this year has been the Asian magnolia. In a typical year, the magnolias will bud out, be in full flower, then start to drop petals in a little over a week, maybe two.   

Asian magnolias normally have a short window of showing color, but this year the conditions were right for a longer bloom time. The bigger trees are the ones showing the extended season. After the weather conditions went through the months leading up to spring bloom time, then the rain hit while the buds were still strong enough to prevail. 

If your daffodils suffered, just be patient and hope for next year.  On the other hand, it might not be the best idea to go out and buy an orchard of Asian magnolias. 

Next year will bring a whole new set of weather conditions that will favor some genres of plants over others, so enjoy the show of color that is presented.         

By Jeff Reynolds, Horticulturist 


Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at 6:30 AM


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