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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers Nan Hampton, Jimmy Mills and Barbara Medford to be the culpable and capable parties. Yet, others think staff members Damon Waitt, Joe Marcus and Philip Hawkins might 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

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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Questions From Near You

Glendale, AZ
Navel orange disease problems
I live in Glendale, Arizona. I hav a mature miniature navel orange tree. This year it has lost a considerable amount of leaves. Also the fruit all has a large yellow spot. It looks pitiful. What shoul...
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Glendale, AZ
Problems with non-native Japanese privet from Glendale AZ
We have Japanese privet shrub and they seem to be suffering from a disease, need help.
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Glendale, AZ
Will hybrid Tecoma stans attract hummingbirds from Glendale AZ
We bought a bells of fire plant; would like to know if hummingbirds like them?
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Glendale, AZ
Queen Palm Fertilization in Arizona
I placed standard Miracle Grow in a root feeder device and inserted into the ground around all of my Queen Palms. Why have they taken a turn for the worse (furled tips on all new branches) Can you ov...
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Glendale, AZ
Non-native Filaree seeds for science classroom
Can I purchase Filaree seeds for my science classroom? If so, where?
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Glendale, AZ
Need plants for shade in Arizona.
Please suggest plants that I can plant in a shaded area. I live in Glendale, Arizona. The shade will be 100% of the time.
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Peoria, AZ
Problems with non-native, invasive Japanese Privet from Peoria AZ
I have Japanese Privit bushes. one out of 6 has started to grow very small leaves and does not look healthy. Moon Valley told me shortage of zinc, but that has not helped in 3 months. What can I ...
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Sun City, AZ
Vines for Poolsides
We would like some color along the pool, but do not want anything with flowers because of the pool. Are there any non-flowering vines that will grow in full sun in Arizona? We have 2 trelis' that we ...
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Sun City, AZ
Problems with Texas Ash from Sun City, AZ
What might be causing the leaves on my Texas Ash tree to have brown spots and curl up and die?
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Peoria, AZ
Shrubs for shade in Peoria, Arizona
My six-foot block wall is on the west side of my yard. There are two large shade trees in front of the wall. What kind of shrubs can I plant near this wall that only gets sun for about 2 hours in th...
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Phoenix, AZ
Tired of mowing
Please help, my husband got tired of mowing the lawn (bermuda grass) and recently decided to do a desert landscape by himself. Without researching, he mowed the dead grass and covered the whole area w...
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Phoenix, AZ
Projected longevity of Opuntia fragilis (Fragile Prickly Pear)
How long does Opuntia fragilis live? Thank you.
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Phoenix, AZ
Evergreen tree for Phoenix
I need your help. I'm looking for a pretty evergreen tree for my small front yard in Phoenix. One that is not horribly messy and doesn't get wider that 10 - 15 ft. I want to be able to decorate at...
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Phoenix, AZ
What to do with agave after it blooms from Phoenix AZ
Hello! I have 2 century plants in the process of blooming. How exciting!! I've never really seen it before. Anyway, what do I then do with the dying/dead plant. Simply dig it up and trash it? T...
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Phoenix, AZ
Care of non-native potato tree (Solanum macranthum or Lycianthes rantonnetii)
I live in Phoenix. I bought what was called a potato tree. Purple flowers with blooms quite often. It seemed a little puny and twiggy so I fed it Miracle Grow. It is now gorgeous with lovely leave...
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Phoenix, AZ
Proximity of orange trees in Phoenix AZ
Do I need to plant my orange tree away from my neighbors orange tree?
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Phoenix, AZ
Privacy hedge plant for Phoenix, Arizona.
Hi, Can you tell me what would be a good plant or shrub to block one side of an unsightly 6ft high wrought iron pool fence, and create some privacy. It would be full sun and the hot temperature of P...
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Phoenix, AZ
Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
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PHOENIX, AZ
Fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, Arizona
Would you recommend a fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, AZ that will grow at least 30 ft. high and with a similar canopy in clay soil?
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Phoenix, AZ
Effect of epsom salts and gray water on plants
We live in Phoenix where water is a precious commodity. We have decided to use as much of the gray water as we can for watering our garden, shrubs and trees. One of the suggestions we heard about w...
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Phoenix, AZ
Comments on non-native Tecomas from Phoenix AZ
There was a question regarding red Tecomas but I see no way to make a comment directly to that. There are indeed red Tecomas on the market one being Tecoma x 'Bells of Fire' tm and ppaf. I am the ...
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