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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

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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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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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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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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Cicero, IN
Getting Tradescantia (spiderwort) to stand up straight in Indiana
Is there a way to keep Tradescantia plants on a thicker base so as not to fall over? Mine are spreading like wild fire, but most fall over and look like weeds.
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Lebanon, IN
Toxicity of non-native Royal Empress tree
We want to plant some fast-growing trees for shade for my horses. My friend wants to use Royal Empress trees. Can you tell me if these are toxic to horses (and also goats)? I have a lot of clay in t...
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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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Noblesville, IN
Small native shrub for Noblesville In
Is there a small shrub native to central Indiana that is suitable for front yard city landscaping?
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Noblesville, IN
Non-native crape myrtles in Noblesville IN
Can Crepe Myrtle trees be grown in Noblesville IN 46060? I believe we are zone five.
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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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LaPorte, IN
Treating stings from stinging nettles in Indiana
How can I remove hairlike thorns (as from nettle-type weed)? My hands react within 24 hours with swelling and pain, esp in morning. In past when I have then been able to locate the offending thorn, th...
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LaPorte, IN
Plant Identification
I am trying to identify a small tree or large plant here in Indiana. I have seen it from 6 ft to as tall as 15 to 20. It is a green leaf with pink cone shaped growth at the ends of a branch. The co...
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Carmel, IN
Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
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Zionsville, IN
Raingardens in Indiana
I need to have annual native plants to add to a demonstration rain garden to fill in while we wait for the perennial plants to mature. The only plant I can think of is annual phlox. Do you have any ...
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Attica, IN
Oakleaf hydrangea in Indiana
I was given a start of an oak leaf hydrangea by a generous friend from her garden. I have been searching for "what to expect" about this plant. I planted it last year and it grew..this year..but d...
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Fishers, IN
Alder native to Central Indiana
I am trying to find out whether there exists a plant named Alnus rugosa. I bought a plant recently that said Speckled Alder, Alnus serrulata (rugosa), but have been unable to determine if this is a c...
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Fishers, IN
Deadheading Asclepias tuberosa in Fishers IN
My Asclepias tuberosa plants are flowering well in their second year and also have formed many seed pods. Since I don't need the seeds, will they bloom more if I remove them or is it unnecessary?
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Pendleton, IN
Blooming but not berrying American bittersweet from Pendleton IN
I have had a bittersweet plant for years, it blooms but not berries. How do I tell if it is male or female so I can buy the opposite? It is currently blooming.
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Valparaiso, IN
Deer resistant, fast growing trees for screening
Deer resistant, fast growing, native plants (trees) as a visual block.
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Brownsburg, IN
Need help with a 50 ft Tulip Tree with storm damage in Brownsburg, IN.
I have a 50 ft Tulip tree that suffered storm damage. One for the main branches split at the top fork and fell. It has left about 6 ft of exposed wood but there are still a couple of main branches in...
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North Salem, IN
Problems with tuliptree in North Salem IN
I have a tulip tree and it looks like it is dying. The limbs are starting to turn bright blue. Do I have an insect problem or is it from a lightning strike?
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