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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

Houston, , TX
Will a Norfolk pine survive winter in Houston
If I transplant a Norfolk pine in the summer, or when is the best time, will it survive the winter growing in Houston Tx? Can you give me some suggestions for fast growing vines facing the front of my...
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Houston , TX
Hurricane damage on oak in Houston
We have a very large oak tree that survived our last hurricane with lots of lost limbs. Then there was the drought. We have lost three large limbs on separate occasions on non-windy days. I love this ...
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Houston, TX
Will Habiturf work in Houston?
I am looking to plant the parking strip between the sidewalk and street - about 6-7 feet wide. Would Habiturf work in Houston. The webside lists areas of Texas, but wasn't sure if Houston was incl...
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Houston, TX
Short, Natural Evergreen Shrubs for Texas
I am looking for small/dwarf evergreen shrubs that, when mature, will be no larger than three feet tall. If possible I would like shrubs that are graceful and more natural looking rather than ôregimen...
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Houston, TX
Habiturf in Houston
I want to install a Multi-Species Native Lawn, like HABITURF. However, I live in Houston, Texas and most of your information on this topic doesn't address my region. As I don't have a heavily shaded...
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Houston, TX
Blocking stolons of St. Augustine grass
I have St. Augustine in my yard, and I am sick of edging the stolons that grow onto the sidewalk and driveway. Is there any way to stop the stolons or block them so that I can just mow and throw away ...
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Houston, TX
Habiturf installation after Take-All fungus
Are other soil remedies needed (besides those listed in your Habiturf brochure) to install Habiturf on land which had a St. Augustine lawn which was decimated by take all patch.
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Houston, TX
Failure of potted verbena to bloom
I have a trailing purple verbena that won't bloom. It is in a container, not in the ground, and gets lots of sun. What is the problem?
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Houston, TX
Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
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Houston, TX
Erosion control for slope to detention pond
We have been required by code to build a detention pond for new church buildings in the Webster, TX (Clear Lake) area. There is a serious erosion of soil from water runoff from the building roof need...
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Houston, TX
Seeds to plant a short grass prairie near Houston
I want to plant a prepared area 20x40 with strong midday sun in Houston. I would like a short prairie meadow with lots of flowers. Where do I get the seeds and is this the time to plant them as I wo...
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Houston, TX
Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story espec...
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Houston, TX
Dog eats horse herb (Calyptocarpus vialis)
This is not a question but in response to one of your answers. My dog eats horse herb all the time. He seems to use it to calm his stomach or throat from acid indigestion. He had an ulcer and would...
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Houston, TX
Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
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Houston, TX
Buffalograss for Houston
Will 609 buffalograss sod perform well in Houston, Texas? I am being told that it will yellow and get filled with weeds and that it won't handle the humidity. Is this all true? Help, please.
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Houston, TX
Power line friendly tree for Houston, TX
Can you recommend a fast-growing, drought tolerant tree (preferably native) to plant next to a driveway that will provide shade on the southern elevation of a one-story bungalow and also not interfere...
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Houston, TX
Plantings of Castilleja in Texas
I am a graduate student interested in studying different species of paintbrush (Castilleja) in Texas. I understand that the Texas Dept of Transportation has been seeding wildflowers along Texas highwa...
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Houston, TX
Tall skinny plant with tubelike flowers
I already posted a question regarding a skinny plant with tiny tube like flowers and you gave me 6 possibilities unfortunately it is not one of them. I happened to see the plant again in my neighborh...
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Houston, TX
Identification of plant with long skinny stems and red flowers
I keep seeing around this very pretty plant that has long skinny stems and bright red flowers that are tube like and skinny too. I would love to get this plant but do not know what it is called.
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Houston, TX
A Pipevine poisonous to Pipevine Swallowtails
I have heard that a specific Pipevine is poisonous to the larva of Pipevine Swallowtails. Is this true? If so, what is the poisonous species of Pipevine, and what other types can I plant that will not...
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Houston, TX
Mexican Lime Turning Yellow
What causes moderate yellowing of 40% of the leaves of an 8 year old Mexican Lime Tree that is booming and blooming right now with lots of thick new growth? I used a general garden fertilizer a few ...
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