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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

Tuscaloosa, AL
Volunteer wax myrtles in Tuscaloosa, AL
I have Wax Myrtles growing in my front yard. I have noticed that some shrubs have sprouted in my back yard that have leaves that are exactly like my wax myrtles. Can Wax Myrtles sprout from seed or h...
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Eutaw, AL
Leaves turning yellow on Banana Shrub in Eutaw. AL
We have a very large (about 12' tall), very old (probably planted in the early 1900s) Banana Shrub in our front yard. It was very healthy until last year when its leaves began turning yellow and fal...
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Jefferson county, AL
Will sprouts under pecan trees become producing trees in Jefferson Co., AL?
Do pecan trees that sprout up underneath existing pecans trees ever amount to anything such as producing and bearing pecans?
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Brierfield, AL
Aluminum foil disorienting insects under plants from Brierfield AL
Does covering the ground under plants frequently attacked by flea beetles with aluminum foil really disorient the insects? But does it also disorient beneficial insects?
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Brierfield, AL
When may I remove seed heads from yuccas?
Soft tip yuccas dominate my home's landscape. When is the best time to remove the heavy seed heads after flowering? In addition to being difficult to work around, the pods seem to attract infestatio...
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Helena, AL
Houston plants adaptable to Birmingham, AL
I have recently moved from Houston to Birmingham Al. I had a wildflower garden in my back yard. Would the same flowers work here as well? I would love to have the same beautiful colors here.
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Alabaster, AL
Deterioration of non-native weeping willows in Alabama
I have a small lake behind my house. 8 years ago we planted two nice weeping willow trees, one on each corner of our yard down toward the lake. One started looking bad last year and we cut all the de...
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Marion, AL
Plants for slope in central Alabama
Our home is atop a 20-25' eastern facing sandy loam slope in central Alabama. It was previously covered w/ kudzu. After 3 yrs. of eradication of the kudzu we are ready to plant with native grasses/pl...
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Calera, AL
Plants with color for steep slope in Calera, Alabama
I have a large steep slope in my back yard that the developer called a privacy break. It has poor soil and gets full sun. I have planted muhly and maiden grasses but would like some color. The slope ...
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Homewood, AL
Will suckering of coralberry be a problem in Homewood AL?
I am considering planting Symphoricarpos orbiculatus in the yard of the home I just purchased. I am interested in attracting wildlife to my yard and covering over a stump with a 3' diameter. My onl...
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Birmingham, AL
Plants for curb appeal from Birmingham AL
My front yard is on a down hill slope. Can you recommend some plants that would be good for creating curb appeal that will be planted up against the house? We need some that are short around 2 feet ...
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Birmingham, AL
Planting for steep slope in Alabama
I am looking for a plant for a steep slope down to a creek in our backyard in Birmingham Alabama It will get some morning sun but will be in the shade in the afternoon. I was thinking of wildflowers...
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Birmingham, AL
Grass for sunny or shady slope in Birmingham AL
What kind of grass grows well in the shade or sun on a sloping landscape?
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Birmingham, AL
Passiflora incarnata 'Alba' cultivar or hybrid from Birmingham AL
Is Passiflora incarnata 'Alba' a cultivar or a hybrid?
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Birmingham, AL
Evergreen groundcover for full sun in Alabama
Mr. Smartyplants, can you suggest a native, evergreen, full-sun groundcover that might thrive in zone 8a? We hope to find a mass planting that would look good beside Heuchera villosa 'autumn bride,...
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Birmingham, AL
Transplant shock in American beautyberry in Birmingham AL
We created a new garden area in our yard that gets full sun in the afternoon. I had a Beautyberry Bush that had seriously outgrown the area where we originally planted it (also full sun), so I transp...
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Birmingham, AL
Front Door Vine in Alabama
I live in Birmingham, AL in a large-scale, white brick, French-style home. I would like to have a vine over my front door. I don't want an invasive vine (seed pods that create new vines or attaches t...
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Birmingham, AL
Habitats of pitcher plants
Where do pitcher plants live?
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Birmingham, AL
Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
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Birmingham, AL
Native plants for southwest side of house in Birmingham, AL
I would like to know what I can plant on the southwest side of my house where there is a brick foundation and is really hot in the summer. I've tried irises and day lilies-not good. Suggestions?
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Birmingham, AL
Cutting back salvia greggii in Birmingham, AL
When is a good time to cut back salvia gregii and how much can you cut it back. We will probably still have frost. Will it grow in sun and shade?
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