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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

Warsaw, IN
Native wildflowers for Northern Indiana
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday April 21. What a beautiful place. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was wondering how I could find out w...
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North Manchester, IN
Tentative identification of Echinacea purpurea
We have a garden plant that is 18 inches high with a purple coned shaped flower sticking straight into the air. Can someone help us identify it?
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Roanoke, IN
Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, b...
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Elkhart, IN
Flowers under pine trees from Elkhart Indiana
I have a number of pine trees at the back of my lot and would like to plant flowers under the tree. What can I plant?
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Elkhart, IN
Texas Sage in Indiana
I was living in Texas and now I have moved to Indiana. I would love to have some Texas Sage here. is it possible?
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Elkhart, IN
Culture of Polytaenia nuttallii, Prairie Parsley
Polytaenia nuttallii is listed at the Wildflower Center as a biennial. PLANTS database lists it as a perennial. Please clear this up if you can. If I plant this at home with tomato plants will it...
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Elkhart, IN
Colorful plants for window boxes in Indiana
I want to find plants with lots of color that will fill two window boxes and trail out of the boxes and look full and nice throughout the summer. I live in Northern Indiana and the window faces south...
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Kendallville, IN
Non-native mint invading flower beds in Kendallville IN
A few years back we were given two sprouts of something referred to as peppermint tea. We planted in our flower bed and now it has taken over. It seems to start slow in the spring but doesn't take lo...
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Mishawaka, IN
Source for Matelea for Indiana
I have been searching unsuccessfully I might add for a vine species called Matelea. These vines benefit the Monarch butterflies but no butterfly places online carry them. Where would a good place be...
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Lagrange, IN
Fall Planting Colorado Blue Spruce in Indiana.
I live in Northern Indiana, and I want to plant a couple of Colorado Blue Spruces that are 3-6 feet in height and Balled and Burlapped. Is it okay to plant them this time of year?
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Walkerton, IN
Plants for exotic pets
I need to know what are some good native non-toxic plants for these species: Porcelain roach (Gyna lurida) from Kenya, Africa. Giant cave roach (Blaberus giganteus) from Central and South Americ...
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South Bend, IN
Care of Ecuadorian penco century plant
I was recently given a Penco, Century plant from Ecuador. It doesn't seem to be doing well. Two of the leaves have turned dark, then yellow, and died completely. Five remain, one seems to be dying as...
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South Bend, IN
What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. ...
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Fort Wayne, IN
Will a Honeysuckle Shrub Damage a House Foundation?
I'm thinking about buying a honeysuckle bush. I would like to plant it close to my house. Can the roots of this bush cause any damage to the foundation to the house?
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Edwardsburg, MI
Non-native fountain grass for Edwardsburg MI
I purchased a purple fountain grass by a vendor @ the Plymouth, IN blueberry festival. He told me that it is a perennial. I live in Edwardsburg, MI and I keep reading that in my area, they are consi...
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Edwardsburg, MI
Smarty Plants on wisteria
A friend has a wisteria bush in his yard that was planted around 1950 by his mother. It has yellow blossoms. He has been told many times by people passing by (they stop to look at the plant) that the...
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Edwardsburg, MI
Plant identification
My brother in law just bought a parcel of land that is bespeckled with shrubs we cannot identify. The land is located in south west Michigan. It is zoned agricultural. Due to the fact that it is ea...
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Stroh, IN
Looking for the identification of spice or cinnamon bush
My grandmother had a flowering bush that had little yellow flowers on it and smelled like cinnamon to me. She called it a spice bush. Could you help me name that bush?
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Bunker Hill, IN
Can tulip tree sap be used to make syrup in Bunker Hill IN?
I was just wondering if tulip tree sap could be used to make syrup. I saw the sticky stuff on the leaves and decided to taste test it and it was very sweet, unfortunately I later found out that I was ...
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Auburn, IN
Determining distance of trees from paving in NE Indiana
I'd like to plant 3 types of trees (Catalpa speciosa- Northern Catalpa; Juglans cinerea - Tulip Tree; and Acer saccharum - Sugar Maple) next to sidewalks and driveways, but need to know if they have ...
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Logansport, IN
Petunias pollinated by clematis from Logansport IN
Can petunias be pollinated by clematis? I have 2 petunias that have split blooms and look like a small clematis flower. They are growing close to a jackamani clematis.
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