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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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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
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
What will grow under a magnolia in Houston?
What will grow under a magnolia tree in Houston? The area is shade and partly sunny.
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Houston, TX
Texas plants useful to early settlers
I'm working on some interpretation for a prairie heritage trail in SE TX (near Houston). I'd like to know where I can find some good information on plant remedies which might have been used by early...
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Houston, TX
Native plants for container gardening in Houston
Hi, we live a townhouse community in Houston, TX and have a decent sized backyard. I plan on devoting part of that to plant some potted flowers which are less than 6 ft tall (we can't plant anything ...
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Houston, TX
Will magnolia roots damage foundation?
We have a Magnolia tree planted in a 5 foot square with foundation on three sides and a side walk on the front. These are all over our block placed by the builder. Will this tree work in this area or ...
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Houston, TX
Time for pruning wax myrtle in Texas
We live in Houston. Can we prune back our southern wax myrtle now?
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Houston, TX
Failure to thrive of non-native closet plant
I have a closet plant that is not doing well no matter what I do or where I put it. What is the best way to care for one of these beautiful plants?
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Houston, TX
Need a shade tree to plant in Houston, TX
Hi, i'm looking for a shade tree to plant on the southwest side of our house, both to make our backyard more enjoyable and to improve energy efficiency. We really like Live Oaks, but they just take t...
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Houston, TX
Will Salvia coccinea bloom in shade in Houston?
I live in Houston and I used your database tool to search for shade plants. I am particularly interested in plants that bloom and support native pollinators. My search returned salvia coccinea. Will t...
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Houston, TX
Variety of colors in bluebonnet seeds from Houston
Bluebonnet seeds I have collected are a variety of colors, from the sandy/tan color to a grayish color and black color. Are all variations viable? Are they equally viable?
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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
Sources for ruellia from Houston
I want to get a bunch of either ruellia nudiflora or ruellia drummondiana in my butterfly garden. But I cannot find it anywhere, and I have no idea where to get plants or seeds. Seems most vendors...
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Houston, TX
Blue mistflowers not blooming in Houston
My blue mist flower plants are not blooming, but they did last summer. I have tried spreading manure, but it hasn't worked. What should I use to stimulate blooms. Thanks.
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Houston, TX
Need native plant to stabilize 45 degree slope in Houston, TX.
Can you recommend a native TX plant to be used to stabilize a 45 degree slope in the Houston area? Durability, maintenance and appearance should be considered. Thank You.
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Houston, TX
Plants for a mixed border in Houston
I live in Houston and have a flowerbed I'd like to fill with plants that will look good year-round. The back is already lined with 6-foot shrubs so nothing like that. I'd like something with colorf...
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Houston, TX
Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
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Houston, TX
Native vine for privacy on metal mesh fence from Houston
Is there a native vine that does not get top heavy in order to provide privacy from the bottom to the top on an expanded metal mesh fence? It's okay if it dies back, but prefer for it to be evergree...
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Houston, TX
Are Brown-eyed susans and Black-eyed susans the same species?
Are Brown eyed Susans the same as the Black-eyed Susan? I've read that they are both common names for the same plant, but the flower looks slightly different in different regions. Thank you.
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Houston, TX
Huisaches in pots from Houston TX
I have special (and probably weird) affinity to huisaches (acacia farnesiana). As a child I used to admire the three that elegantly guarded our backyard looking almost like fingers reaching for the s...
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