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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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Questions From Near You

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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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
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
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
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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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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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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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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San Gabriel, CA
Can orange trees be grown in Albany, CA
Can we grow an orange tree in Albany, CA?
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Montrose, CA
Christmas decorations on a live oak in Montrose CA
Is it OK to put Christmas lights and decorations on a live oak?
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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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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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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
Propagation of ferns
I have several varieties of well-established ferns and would like to know how I might propagate these ferns. I have tried just snipping one stem to root it but I was unsuccessful.
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Los Angeles, CA
Ground covering around cypresses in pool area
We have multiple cypress trees planted along our pool area..they shed way too much..but I'm looking for something to put under and around them over the dirt..do you suggest wood chips or a ground cov...
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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
How Will Termite Fumigation Affect a Figvine
Will a termite fumigation kill a 19 year old figvine that is growing on a stucco house?
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Los Angeles, CA
Privacy screen in front of cinderblock wall in Los Angeles
I'm looking for a privacy hedge to plant along my backyard's cinderblock wall in Los Angeles, CA. I need it to grow 10 - 15 feet and it can't be toxic to dogs. Any advice would be great!
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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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