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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Questions From Near You

St Pete Beach, FL
Reasons to leave a century plant in place in Florida
Can you please list ALL the reasons to leave a century plant (as opposed to cutting it way back or removing it) in the wilds of the sand dunes on the coast of Florida, other than its prominent beauty?
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Seminole, FL
Herb used in treating stomachache
Growing up in St. Petersburg, Fl my father had an herb or plant that he pronounced kee-low and I always thought it was spelled kilo. He would take it and pick it, dry it out and then make tea with it....
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Largo, FL
Invasive possibly non-native vine in Largo FL
I have vines taking over my backyard, climbing all over the ground and up trees. The vines are huge, non-flowering giant leaves that look like elephant ears. What are these and how can they be contain...
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Belleair, FL
Hot Sunny Planter Suggestions for Florida
We have a large, raised, concrete planter (about 15' L x 2' W) separating us from our condo neighbor in Clearwater, FL. We would like suggestions for shrubs that tolerate full sun and hot conditions...
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Safety Harbor, FL
Problems with sunflowers in Florida
I planted sunflowers on the west side of my house where I have previously planted them and they grew wonderfully. These new ones, however, seem to be dying, (less than 2 weeks). I bought the plants at...
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Clearwater, FL
What kind of alcohol to use with Passiflora seeds?
Hi, I read a question and answer related to gernmination of passiflora incarnata. You recommended a 5% alcohol/water solution to soak the seeds prior to sowing. I just want to make sure that you are...
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Clearwater, FL
Question about dwarf oyster plant, Tradescantia spathacea
I sm looking for Dwarf Oyster plant like the one described about 3-4 inches in height, color green and purple. But the nurseries here in Clearwater FL don't seem to know what I am talking about. S...
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Clearwater, FL
What to do about leaf spot on Vaccinium myrsinites in Clearwater FL?
I have recently planted many Vaccinium myrsinites (shiny blueberry) in my yard. These plants seem to have many dead twig branches without leaves. The remaining leaves have red spots. I visited a na...
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Clearwater, FL
Cultural requirements for Heliotropium angiospermum in Florida
What are the cultural requirements for Heliotropium angiospermum?
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Gibsonton, FL
Do palm trees put off a toxic smoke when burnt?
do palm trees put off a toxic smoke when burnt
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Anna Maria, FL
Are palm leaves poisonous?
I live in a second story house surronded by various types of palm trees on the west coast of Florida. My 1 year old son crawls on the decks and tries to taste all of the palm leaves that sneak through...
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Sun City Center, FL
Native firebush dying in Sun City Center FL
I have a native firebush, it is suddenly dying branch by branch, from the inside out, I have noticed odd things look like wasps but with speckled wings on it. What could be killing it. The inside bra...
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ellenton, FL
Winter wrappings for plants in Ellenton Florida
Hi and thank you for your time, I do appreciate it. I have one question. I live in Florida and yes we do get frost and temps down to 28 degrees in the winter. last year I lost almost 50 plants tha...
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Clearwater Bch, FL
poor blooming on (non-native) plumbago
I recently purchased several blue Plumbago plants that were covered in blooms. We planted them in our front beds that receive about 5 hours of morning sun then afternoon shade. I have watered them eve...
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Oldsmar, FL
Care of non-native Mandevilla
I have purchased 2 Red Riding Hood Mandevilla's. The tag on it says it blooms spring to frost, full sun, ave size is 8 feet tall & spreading. I live in the Tampa FL area. Does this plant grow as a sh...
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Tampa, FL
Deer resistant groundcover for Tampa, Florida
I live in Tampa, FL and have a deer problem. I was wondering if you would give me some suggestions for deer resistant ground covers that are hearty and flower but most of all "DEER RESISTANT"!!! ...
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Tampa, FL
Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
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Tampa, FL
red maple bark damage by squirrels
We have two acres of land, largely covered by various oaks and cherry laurels -and, after many hours of cutting down chinese tallow trees..finally some red maples. Our problem is that we also have a s...
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Tampa, FL
Privacy Hedge Suggestions for Tampa, Florida
My back wall is made of stone and is about 6' high. We are very close to a busy road. I need a plant that will reach about 7-8 feet high or a hedge to reduce some of the noise. What plant/hedge would...
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Tampa, FL
Ways to group plants
Are deciduous plants and leaves and roots ways to group plants? I need the answer now; tell me the answer if some are wrong?
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Tampa, FL
Need shrubs to plant alongside a swimming pool in Tampa, FL.
I Have a 3 1/2 foot gap between my pool screen and back fence. This gap runs about 30 ft. long. I would like to place small trees to look beautiful and to grow 6-8 ft. high to screen out my neighbor...
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