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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

Estero, FL
Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Florida
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants While visiting Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale we saw a beautiful Texas Mountain Laurel tree. What are the chances of this surviving in the Ft. Myers, Florida area. Either in t...
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Cape Coral, FL
Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.
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Cape Coral, FL
Identification of lantanas safe for use in Florida
Why do you list lantana camara as a native to the U.S. and as a native plant in Florida? It is a category one invasive exotic on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's list of invasive exotics. La...
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Cape Coral, FL
Tropical plants for a pool-side planter in Cape Coral FL
I live in Southwest Florida and have a pool inside a cage with a pool planter built into the deck around part of the pool. What kind of tropical plants can I put in the planter that are not root inva...
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Cape cORAL, FL
Smarty Plants on Science Fair projects
I would like to know what kind of plants can grow in two weeks? Please answer quickly so I can do my Science Fair project.
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Cape Coral, FL
Shaded Groundcover for Florida
Looking for ground cover for shade. Area is between two houses. Something with minimal amount of work and care.
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Naples, FL
Identity of vine growing in Naples Florida
I live on country/residential property outside of Naples, Florida. This year I have had dozens of seedlings of some type of vine popping up all over. I have posted on a couple plant blogs looking for ...
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Naples, FL
Are palm tree thorns poisonous?
Almost 3 weeks ago I trimmed the fronds of my pygmy date palm. The tip of a thorn was stuck in my finger. I pulled it out. The side of my finger is still very painful and my finger is swollen. I c...
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Naples, FL
Summer fragrance from Naples FL
Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Naples, Florida, there has been something that blooms in the summer. I smell this every day into the evening and it isn't a flowery fragrance, it was a li...
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Naples, FL
Plant identification
There are large trees with brilliant orange flowers around Naples FL. Can you tell me what this is?
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Naples, FL
Flowering plant for container on lanai in South Florida
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to purchase a flowering plant for my ailing mother for Christmas. It has to be able to grow in shade so I can place it on her table on her lanai for her to be a...
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Naples, FL
Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
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Naples, FL
Care for non-native cat palm
Purchased 3 new cataractarum palms-3ft. high for indoors--how can I know when to water or how often?? I am from Canada & in Naples Florida for 6 months--I am a novice to these plants
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Punta Gorda, FL
Problems with non-native ixora in Punta Gorda, FL
We are having problems with our Ixora plants. The leaves turn yellow, then fall down.
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Port Charlotte, FL
Will desert rose (Rosa stellata) survive in south Florida
I have a mature desert rose and I wanted to plant it in the ground. I live in southwest Florida.I want to know will it survive and should I wait to plant it next year?
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North Port, FL
Groundcovers for Sarasota County, Florida
I would like to replace the grass in my yard with native or any other appropriate ground cover. I live in North Port, Sarasota County Florida. I would be grateful for any suggestions. Thank you in ad...
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North Port, FL
Need to know if coral honeysuckle is toxic to dogs in North Port, FL.
Could you please tell me if coral honeysuckle is toxic to dogs. I would like to plant it in my backyard, but do not plant anything that would be toxic to my dog if she decided to chew on it. Thank y...
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Venus, FL
Safety of Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel tree) for parrots
Do you have any information on the possible toxicity of Baccharis halimifolia (Groundsel tree, sea myrtle) most especially the trunks/branches? We have it all over our property, and I'm curious if it...
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Venice, FL
Distance from existing structures for live oak
How close to your house slab, driveway and footpaths should you plant live oaks so as to avoid in the future damage from roots, falling branches, etc?
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Venice, FL
Selective herbicide for non-native bermudagrass from Venice FL
Is there a selective herbicide that can be used for grasses like Floratam and Bermuda along with various weeds that will not damage Wedelia?
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Venice, FL
Trimming non-native plants
What time of year is best to trim my Alamanda cathartica, and also my Plumbago auriculata? Thanks
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