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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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Questions From Near You

Los Angeles, CA
Plant identification
I have a tall leafy green plant growing in my garden. It has long flowering limbs that bear a pod that looks like a tiny green pepper. It then turns purple and falls off. The flower that remains is...
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Los Angeles, CA
Plants to grow in high zinc, lead and copper soil in Los Angeles
We live on the Westside of Los Angeles and have just been given the bad news that our beds are high in zinc (86.39), lead (45.98) and copper(12.95). Can you recommend some plants that may grow in thes...
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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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Los Angeles, CA
Tree with no invasive roots for Los Angeles
I have a large in ground planter sharing the outside wall (on south/east corner) of my house in east LA 90032. I would like to find a tree that grows quite tall (2 story building), but grows roots ver...
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Los Angeles, CA
Trees around the inland waterways in Virginia
I am writing a piece about Virginia Beach, Virginia. Could you tell me other than Pine what trees are found in the forests around the inland waterways? Thank-you very much!
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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
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
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
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
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
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
Brown flakes on prickly pear in Los Angeles
I live in Los Angeles CA. I have desert type plants in my landscape. I have prickly pear cactus that have developed some light brown, almost golden flakes on the skin of the pads. I believe it is call...
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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
Native shrubs for containers in Los Angeles, CA
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - We are looking for some non-vine potted plants to grow on our balcony for privacy in Los Angeles. The balcony receives partial direct sunlight & we would like the growth to...
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Los Angeles, CA
Natural location of Ceanothus impressus in California
Where is Ceanothus impressus 'victoria' native? I need as specific as you can. Thanks much.
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Los Angeles, CA
Vine for privacy on a deck in Southern California
I am looking for a climbing vine/plant that is non-flowering and can be grown year round in Southern California. We are looking to help create a private area along a deck for my grandmother because h...
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Los Angeles, CA
Smarty Plants on poisonous plants
Do you have a list of plants that are poisonous to children and pets?
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Los Angeles, CA
Invasive definition kalanchoe pinnata
The plant Kalanchoe pinnata is listed as being invasive. What does that mean? Is it a weed or does it interefere with metropolitan plumbing? (root system)
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Los Angeles, CA
Eugenia Substitutes for Southern California
Is there a eugenia bush (preferable one that can grow tall) without berries. We like this plant but the berries create a problem. We live in Los Angeles, CA. Thank you.
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Los Angeles, CA
Native grasses to replace mondo grass in California
Hello - I live in the Southern California coastal zone, and am looking for a drought resistant, turf alternative. My husband wants to use "Mondo Grass", but I know that is not native to the regi...
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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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