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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

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

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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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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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
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
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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Los Angeles, CA
Is Lemon Cypress toxic?
Is the Lemon Cypress toxic?
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Los Angeles, CA
Water requirements for fruit trees in California
Dear Sir; In which of these options (fruit trees) the need for watering in irrigation process is higher than the others: -Olive tree -Nectarines and peaches trees -Hazelnut trees -Pistachios and ...
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LOS ANGELES, CA
Identity of vine with orangish flowers
I am looking to ID what I believe is a vine growing plant that blooms orangish flowers. I have pictures of the plant, and have attempted to use multiple plant ID websites. But have been unsuccessful. ...
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Los Angeles, CA
Oak root resistant hedge for Southern California
I live in Southern California and my cypress hedge has oak root fungus. What kind of hedge can I plant that will grow fast and be resistant to the fungus?
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Los Angeles, CA
What do a bouquet red and yellow flowers mean?
I just need a question answered, sorry if it's not what you guys answer but what do red and yellow flowers together mean? I mean like a bouquet of yellow and red roses mixed together, not red and yel...
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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
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
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
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
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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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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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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Los Angeles, CA
Are century plants (Agave spp.) poisonous?
About 2 weeks ago, I was poked in the arm by a Century Plant, which caused a pretty big bruise to form. I didn't think much of it at first, but now, 2 weeks later, the bruise hasn't healed at all. S...
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Los Angeles, CA
Need to Landscape a Small Yard in Southern California
We live in Southern California, and have a small yard – approx. 40’ x 20.’ We want to remove the grass, which we are currently not irrigating, and replace with low maintenance, drought-tolerant plant...
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Los Angeles, CA
Strange form of Dasylirion sp. (sotol)
Mr. Smarty: I have a client with a huge (2 ft. diameter trunk), multi-headed dasylirion. On one or more of the heads, the leaves arch inward instead of outward. Someone said this is because of an inju...
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Los Angeles, CA
Are palm leaves poisonous?
Are palm tree leaves poisionous? Because my dad was doing yard work and was stuck by a palm tree leaf in his calf. His calf has swollen and in he thinks it broke off in his calf.
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