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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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

Questions From Near You

Walker, LA
Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?
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Greenwell Springs, LA
Thorns on non-native orange trees in Greenwell Springs, LA
Navel orange tree has thorns, why is this?
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Baton Rouge, LA, LA
Thorny vines for a shady Louisiana fence
Do you know of a fast growing, non-invasive, thorny vine that I can grow along a shady fence row in Baton Rouge, Louisiana?
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Prairieville, LA
Toxicity of Lupinus ssp. (bluebonnets)
Are bluebonnets toxic to cattle?
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Prairieville, LA
Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Louisiana
I just returned from a visit to Austin and I saw the Texas Mountain Laurel everywhere. I live in the Baton Rouge, LA area and would like to know if performing some soil amendments would allow me to gr...
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Prairieville, LA
Removal of pups from Century Plant after blooming in Prairieville LA
Will the main part of the century plant always die after it grows a stalk? I have babies coming off the base and need to know if I should separate them to keep them alive.
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Baton Rouge, LA
Transplanting Ilex x attenuata (Savannah holly)
Is it hard to take a savannah holly out of my front yard? Do the roots grow down deep or are they more shallow? I can only take a 36-40 rootball circumference because of surrounding established shru...
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Baton Rouge, LA
Smarty Plants on Iris native to Louisiana
A friend of mine has discovered white iris growing alongside of a swampy habitat in southeast Louisiana where there are blue, yellow and copper/red irises. We presume it is wild because it is in a na...
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Baton Rouge, LA
Carex as a shady turf alternative in Austin
I just read your answer to Barbara Medford's question about what multi-species native grasses would work to create a shady lawn. While you had some wonderful suggestions you mention a homeowner's as...
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Baton Rouge, LA
Native and non-native Wandering Jew and Four o Clocks
I am looking for information on 2 separate plants in my yard. The names that people have given me on what they are is as follows: Wondering Jew Four O'Clock
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Baton Rouge, LA
White evening primrose from Baton Rouge LA
My husband and I have a disagreement about Mexican Primroses. I believe I have seen patches of them which are pure white. He believes they must be faded pink ones. Do white ones occasionally grow? ...
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Baton Rouge, LA
Where can white prickly poppy be viewed en mass from Baton Rouge LA?
Does the center feature the native White Prickly Poppy? When is prime blooming season? Can you give me some specific locations in the area where the plant can be seen en mass and photographed? Thank...
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Baton Rouge, LA
How to have Mimosa and Yucca identified.
Hello, I have recently come across what I believe to be Mimosa microphylla in a very southwest corner of Mississippi. The only thing different about this patch is its brilliant white blooms! I can no...
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Baton Rouge, LA
Plant identification
Hi from Baton Rouge, I was out in Livingston Parish a week ago and saw a small tree that I had never seen before. I can't paste a picture here. It's sort of like an Osage Orange but the flowers a...
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Port Allen, LA
Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
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Gonzales, LA
Evergreen groundcover in Louisiana
I need a suggestion for an evergreen groundcover plant that can tolerate moist soil. I want something that is low maintenance to go around a pergola in my backyard that gets mostly full sun.
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Ethel , LA
Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
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Tickfaw, LA
Identification of a tree at David Crockett Cabin Museum in Tennessee
I was in Lawrenceburg TN and stopped by the David Crockett Cabin Museum. There was a tree and it dropped lemon sized balls on the ground. What kind of tree is it?
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La Place, LA
Problems with purple passion flower
Hello, I live in La Place, Louisiana (30 miles west of New Orleans). In March 2007, I planted a purple passion flower (maypop). During the spring it thrived and was covered with brilliant green le...
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Thibodaux , LA
Plants beneath native bald cypress trees in Thibodaux LA
I have a bed that needs to be revamped and it has two beautiful 18 year old Bald cypress trees. I would like to work the soil and plant some appropriate shade tolerant plants. How do I work the soil...
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Covington, LA
Native grasses for wildlife in Katrina recovery area of Louisiana
I live in La in an area decimated by Katrina and want to establish 11 acres of wildlife friendly native short grasses. It is partly designated wetlands because it floods, but also has long periods wi...
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