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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

Milpitas, CA
Non-native Vanda plants in the Philippines
My brother lives in the Philippines and he's asking for help regarding his Vanda Plants. His Vandas are outdoors, east side of house, gets morning sun only. He waters everyday because it dries up ...
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San Jose , CA
Tree or shrub with non-invasive roots from San Jose CA
I am looking for a small tree/ large shrub (non higher than a one story roof) with non-invasive roots to replace a 25 foot cedar. It is in a small area (5x 7) bordered to the side by a driveway...
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Santa Clara, CA
Purple wildflowers near Lake Tahoe
I have been tasked with a challenge to find the plant that is "dark purple wild flowers at Lake Tahoe and are a magnificent thing to see in the fall. Interestingly, these wild mountain lake flowers w...
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Santa Clara, CA
Replacing junipers on slope with wildlife garden
Gradual replacement of Juniper with natives? We have a 10 foot deep slope with less than a 45 degree angle that is all covered with old, overgrown Juniper. It does not appear to serve any purpose ...
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San Jose, CA
Can I trim back my 20 ft Yucca plant?
I have a yucca tree which is about 20 ft. tall, has four main trunks. I would like to prune it to approx. 10 ft. but wonder if that will kill it or if new shoots will come out up near the cut.
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San Jose, CA
Drought Tolerant Shrubs and Perennials in San Jose, CA
Hello I am a SLT home owner in San Jose, Ca. and want to plant drought tolerant shrubs and perennials. We don't have irrigation but plan to put a timer on a nozzle and run some lines. At least I am t...
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San Jose, CA
Non-invasive, native vines for flood wall in San Jose CA
I was hoping you could help me with some information on vine selection. I am interested in selecting three vines for a flood wall application. Non-native species are acceptable, so long as they’re no...
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San Jose, CA
Problems with non-native orchid
I have vanda sanderiana that has wrinkled and yellowing leaves.They are located outdoors, northeast section, plenty of morning direct light and still bright even when the sun is at 3:00 oclock.I water...
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San Jose, CA
Problems with non-native Chinese pistache tree in San Jose CA
We have a Chinese Pistache tree that is between 25 and 30 years-old. Over the past couple years, we have observed more and more branches dying. They turn black, and remain leafless in the spring, when...
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San Jose, CA
Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.
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San Jose, CA
California native bunch grasses good for erosion control
In response to your answer about deep rooted native plants good for erosion control, don't forget to include native bunchgrasses. here in California, our bunchgrasses have roots that go 10ft, 20ft de...
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San Jose, CA
Fast-growing tree, non-toxic for horses, in Northern California
Hello..I need to find a fast growing shade tree, native to California (I live in Northern California, south of San Francisco) that would be safe next to (but not in) my horses paddock. Obviously some...
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San Jose, CA
Plant identification of tree with strawberry-like fruit
On my walk home from work i noticed a red berry i had never seen before. It is soft like a strawberry, bumpy all over but the bumps are not individual as a raspberry has. It grows on a tall bush (very...
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San Jose, CA
Trees for small spaces from San Jose CA
What tree can you plant in a corner of a yard 3ft from a fence? What is the best shade tree for a small yard with a pool?
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Sunnyvale, CA
Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
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Mountain View, CA
Identification of night blooming Cereus
My Grandmother used to have a plant she called Nightly Series, that bloomed only at night. Can you help me find out where to buy one?
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Cupertino, CA
Yellowing leaves on non-native podocarpus Cupertino CA
I recently planted a podacarpus granular and over half the leaves are turning yellow some are dead. What could be the problem? Is there something I can feed it? What should I do? I planted four & the...
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Mt. View, , CA
Non-native strawberry tree dying in Mt. View CA
My strawberry tree has brown leaves and is dying, what can I do?
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Los Altos, CA
Mimosa pudica or \
I don't have a picture of a flower but I'm looking for a flower that I was told was called earthquake flower. It blooms at night. Could you help me?
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Saratoga, CA
Problems with non-native Maytens tree in Saratoga, CA
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, My friend's Mayten tree (green spray)leaves are yellowing and we don't know if it is under-watered (surrounded by grass and fed with a time sprinkler for 20 min. maybe 2 or ...
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Los Gatos, CA
Plants for under a fountain splash line in California
What plants should we plant under our fountain's splash line in our Mediterranean style courtyard? The area will get wet from the fountain's splashing and have "full" sun. We are on a rock ridge...
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