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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Nutley, NJ
Boom time for Texas wildflowers and best sites for viewing
I live in NJ and would like to visit Texas and see the bluebonnets and other wildflowers in bloom this spring. When do you expect the best display of flowers this year? Also, can you tell me where th...
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Cedar Grove, NJ
Fast growing, flowering shade tree for Austin
Sister just moved to Austin Texas. She is looking for fast growing shade trees, preferably one with nice flowers. Any suggestions?
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West Orange, NJ
Plant identification
I walk in a wooded area. There is a plant with large spade like leaves.It grow to about 4 to 6 ft. In other areas it has grown almost tree-like with green sticky nuts or seeds. I believe it had purple...
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Newark, NJ
Native habitate sunlight as opposed to artificial light
Does a plant grow best in sunlight or artificial light?
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TOTOWA, NJ
Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
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Jersey City, NJ
Care of non-native Betula pendula 'Youngii' (Young's Weeping Birch)
We planted a Young's Weeping Birch on the side of our house here in NJ a few weeks ago and it seems to be thriving. When we purchased Fred (which is what we've named our youngster), he was in a pot ...
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Fair Lawn, NJ
Smarty Plants on basketplant
I want to buy a basketplant (Callisia fragrans). Do you know where can I buy it?
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Fair Lawn, NJ
Correct spelling of Passiflora caerulea
What is correct, passiflora coerulea or caerulea ?
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Hoboken, NJ
Smarty Plants on wildflower collecting
Is wildflower collecting a good school activity?
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Livingston, NJ
Pruning smoketree in New Jersey
How far from ground level do I prune a relatively young Smoke tree to get the bush effect?
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paramus, NJ
Need suggestions for trees with non-invasive root system in Paramus, NJ.
What trees can I plant in New Jersey with non invasive root systems? We lost our tree to a storm and are looking for a viable replacement.
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New York City, NY
Wild Native Hybrids and Cultivars?
It is my understanding that hybrids can occur with or without human intervention whereas cultivars always involve human intervention. Strictly speaking does this mean native wildflowers can never be ...
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NYC, NY
Container plants for terrace in New York City
What flowering plants would you recommend that will grow well on a 16th floor terrace ,with all day sun in NYC?
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New York, NY
Non-native Ginkgo biloba in New York
A female Ginkgo tree dropped its seeds. Now, I have seedlings all over the yard. I don't want more female Ginkgo trees. They create putrid Ginkgo seeds. However, I would like more male Ginkgo trees. ...
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Wapperger Falls , NY
Propagation of myrtle in Wapperger Falls, NY
How do you propagate myrtle?
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New York City, NY
Salt and flood tolerant plants for Brooklyn NY
Hi, I am researching suitable plants for landscape architectural projects in the wake of New York City’s proposal for increased storm and climate change resilience. I am specifically looking at the ne...
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NYC, NY
Orange trumpet creeper parasitic to oaks in New York City?
Is the Orange Trumpet Creeper a parasite to oak trees? My concern is that a neighbor with a tall oak has a vine growing up it and I wonder if it could damage or weaken the tree?
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NYC, NY
Can I Grow Beautyberry
Will try to be brief. Beautyberry sprouted leaves in vase of branches in water. It's NYC beginning of winter. Can I plant it outside? If not will it grow in a pot inside? Thanks. Happy New Ye...
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NYC, NY
Need help with yucca palm in New York City, NY.
I have had my yucca palm plant for almost 10 years. The bark has started to peel off although leaves seem fine. The second smaller separate yucca plant has half its bark and trunk gone. I can't see a...
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New York City, NY
Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.
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New York City, NY
Liquid glucose as substitute for sunlight from New York City
I am curious to find out whether liquid glucose can be poured as water for mung bean plants as substitute for no sunlight. Is the possible? Will a specific amount of glucose need to be used? Can liqui...
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