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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Cypress, CA
Can non-native Mayten tree be grown in 4 ft. container in Cypress CA
We have a mayten tree that is about ten years old, in a planter about 4 ft. wide. We were told that the roots will not be a problem--true or false? So far, no problem, but how about going forward?
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Buena Park, CA
Pepper plants growing in California
Hello, I have several hot pepper plants growing in my yard. I would like to know what the pepper is called. I dry them out and grind them up to a powder and use it in many dishes. I have asked my l...
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Westminster, CA
Shrub or small tree to hide walls in southern California
We have multiple issues in our back yard in 92683, and will probably need an assortment of plants to accomplish it. In a nutshell, here are the basics we were hoping to fix: 1) Ugly 5 & 6 foot block...
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Norwalk, CA
Moving Century plants in Norwalk CA
I have two large Century plants that are each 10 1/2 years old. One is 4'x5' tall and wide with about 8-10 small shoots. The smaller in about 3 1/2'x 5' with about 6 shoots. They've grown too l...
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Fullerton, CA
Need a vine to cover a 8' cinder block wall in Fullerton, CA.
Hi- I have a 8' cinder block wall that gets full sun, and need to find either a flowering shrub that would cover, or a vine that wouldn't be to hard to manage, or would not need to use a trellis....
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Fullerton, CA
Trees for townhome backyard in Fullerton, CA
Hi, I live in a townhome with a big backyard here in Orange County. Last year, I got rid of my ficus trees that had grown too tall and big for a townhome backyard. Now, I would like to plant two tre...
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Fullerton, CA
Strong groundcover for Southern California
Need a strong ground cover. Hard time getting anything to grow. Full sun. Prefer some color. Low upkeep. The soil probably isn't great. It is a small hill within a planter.
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Fullerton, CA
Purchase of medicinal plants
Hi. I am looking to buy some medicinal plants. One of them is Galium and the other is Thymus serpillum. Please advise me of where I can find them. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your hel...
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Long Beach, CA
Effects of salt sprinkled on garden
The kids accidentally sprinkled salt on the plants in the garden. How do you counter the effect of the salt so the plants will not die. I would appreciate your response. Thank you.
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Long Beach, CA
Plant identification from photos
I have 3 photos of the same plant, and no one knows what it is. Can I send you the photos, they are small jpegs, for identification? Thank you.
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Long Beach, CA
Smarty Plants on Resurrection Plant
Hello, I have a plant that my grandmother gave to me. When she gave me the plant it was a dried bundle; but, as soon as she put in water, the plant opened up and came to life again. Then, we let it...
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La Jolla, CA
Native tree for San Diego, California
I have conflicting info about the Mayten tree. Pro: recommended patio tree, medium water needs, does not drop seed or leaves. Con: broadly invasive suckers, messy drop. I am in San Diego, Californ...
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Downey, CA
Non-native hybrid willows dropping leaves in Downey CA
I have 1 year old Hybrid Willows that are strong and 12 feet tall, with many branches. All of a sudden they are dropping their leaves in July. I got them for fast growing shade, now the branches are ...
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Brea, CA
Getting rid of Aphids on Asclepias plants in Brea, CA.
I grow asclepsias or MILKWEED for the benefit of Monarchs. At times I have aphids consuming the leaves. How can I destroy the aphids without harming the Monarch eggs? Thank you very much.
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Huntington Beach,, CA
Plants for wall behind pool in Huntingdon Beach California
I have a backyard pool and I just removed a messy ivy hedge that grew along the back block wall. The plant was shedding too much leaves. I would like the new plant to hide the fence and grow close en...
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Huntington Beach, CA
Loss of bloom on Fremontodendron californicum in California
The flowers on my Flannel Bush all died at once I have noticed a sappy substance at the base of the trunk. There are still some flowers on bush but most are dead. It has been blooming since Feb. Is ...
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Huntington Beach, CA
Small flowering tree for Huntingdon Beach, CA
I am looking for a short approx. 10 foot tall tree to plant in the 2 corners of my backyard near a wall. I would like them to be thin approx. 5 feet wide where light can get through so my other plant...
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Huntington Beach, CA
Small tree for Huntingdon Beach, CA
I have the exact same question as a previous tree question from Huntington Beach California. When I click on the answer it brings up another question. I would like to know the answer given for the 10 ...
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Orange, CA
Bioswale in Orange CA
Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm looking for plants for a bio-swale in Southern California. Do you have any suggestions for plants that do well in water but can also can handle long dry summers?
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Orange, CA
Plant identification of a potted vine in California
Hi, we have a tropical vine growing in a pot on our patio that my wife bought at the county fair. We've had it for a couple of years but I just noticed it now has a sort of pear like fruit on it. It ...
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Santa Ana, CA
What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
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