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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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San Gabriel, CA
Can orange trees be grown in Albany, CA
Can we grow an orange tree in Albany, CA?
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Alhambra, CA
Smarty Plants on water-absorbing plants
I am looking for water-absorbing plants for L.A. zone. I am hoping this type of vegetation would ease the water retention problem at the planter right next to my basement. Is this a feasible solutio...
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South Pasadena, CA
Erosion control for edge of artificial lake in California
How about erosion control at the edge of an artificial lake in Southern California? Juncus and ..?
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Pasadena, CA
Non-native creeping fig
I like the creeping fig that covers my brick wall but the roots are very invasive and are choking my rose bushes and other surrounding plants. I spent two days removing the roots and loosening the so...
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Pasadena, CA
Alternative to grass as groundcover in area used by dog
I am looking for a beautiful groundcover to use instead of grass which need to be soft and animal friendly. My dog is in the yard a lot and she's 10 yrs old. I am looking for a groundcover which wi...
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Pasadena, CA
Trees resistant to Armillaria mellea, root fungus
We had to bring down a 200 year old oak which root system was compromised by Armillaria mellea. We were told the fungus is still present in the soil & it's advisable to plant a resistant species. W...
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Pasadena, CA
Groundcover for parking strip in Pasadena, California
Can you suggest a low growing, low maintenance plant which will spread to cover parking strip in Pasadena, California? Thank you.
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Pasadena, CA
Evergreen vine for wall in Pasadena CA
Hi, I am looking for an evergreen vine to cover my block wall. I saw star jasmine kept really flowing and wild and loved it but I don't like the way it will look when It blooms. I want a vine that ...
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El Monte, CA
Plant identification site
Is there a site I can use to identify plants by photos of leaves, flowers, berries etc? I found a plant in my yard I cannot identify. The nursery near us could not identify it. It has some groups/clus...
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Altadena, CA
Will Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) be toxic to chickens?
We are considering planting Carolina Cherry Laurels around our yard for dense hedging purposes. We are concerned because we have a small flock of free-ranging chickens who eat every seed and leaf in ...
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Altadena, CA
Smarty Plants on Ebenopsis
Why is the Texas Ebony, genus Pithecolobium, not in your database? Is it not a native? Thanks.
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Monrovia, CA
Evergreen privacy hedge resistant to verticillium wilt
I am looking for an evergreen, fast-growing privacy hedge (over 6') that is resistant to verticillium wilt and has low water requirements. I live in Monrovia, CA and have to replace hopseed bushes w...
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Los Angeles , CA
Help with non-native plants in California
I am growing some beads of pearl in my front yard in front of a pepper tree that has been around for over 150 years. My question is what can I do to get my beads of pearl to grow without cutting down ...
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Los Angeles , CA
Cochineal bugs on cactus
Mr. Smarty plants. I have purple prickly pear cactus that are developing small white flake like spots, mostly where the thorns would be. Why is this happening and how can I cure it?
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Los Angeles, CA
Erosion control for steep slope in Southern California
I need help for soil erosion control for a steep slope in sunny Southern California. Thank you.
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Los Angeles, CA
Major poisonous plants in California
Hi! So I'm working on an art project that requires a comprehensive list of poisonous plants within California. I'm looking specifically however, for plants which are fatally poisonous (upon inges...
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Los Angeles, CA
Is Lemon Cypress toxic?
Is the Lemon Cypress toxic?
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Los Angeles, CA
Non-native Jacaranda interfering with concrete wall from Los Angeles
We have been replanting the area surrounding our 2 story apt bldg and on one area, there is Jacaranda that started growing in an enclosed cement block wall area. The cemented walled in area which is ...
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Los Angeles, CA
Identification of tree with red feathery leaves
What is the name of a tree with dark red leaves, feathery, slim trunk; maybe in the pepper family? Jedi?
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Los Angeles, CA
Why are my potted Prunus caroliniana plants shedding leaves in LA, CA?
I bought Prunus caroliniana in pots to use as privacy fence on my balcony. Have had them for about 6 weeks and they are shedding a lot of leaves. Some leave are drying out and others have what ...
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Los Angeles, CA
Horsetail Rush invasive in Santa Monica CA
Mr. Smarty Plants: I live about 3 miles from the beach in the Santa Monica area and have an 18inch deep planter area in my backyard that is adjacent to my garage. I like the look of horsetail rush. I...
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