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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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Questions From Near You

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
Non-native pothos ivy from Houston
My pothos devils ivy is about 5 years old and grows outside. A couple of years ago its leaves became spectacularly large, like 12" wide and its stalk about 1 - 2" wide. A couple of years ago i gui...
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Houston, TX
Is Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) known to cause skin irritation
Is Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata L.) known to cause a rash? We are trying to identify the source of a rash-after-gardening, and have not seen any of the big three (poison ivy, poison oak, poison suma...
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Houston, TX
Small, slow-growing native tree for Houston
Can you please recommend a pretty, small, slow growing tree for my bed centerpiece? It gets some sun/partial shade in front of my Houston area north facing home and must survive heat and some drought...
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Houston, TX
Flowers at the Wildflower Center
What common wildflowers are in the Wildflower Center?
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Houston, TX
Non-native St. Augustine grass failing for 5 years in Houston
My townhome in Houston has a mid-size backyard, which receives full sun for much of the day. I've re-sodded with St. Augustine for 5 consecutive summers, but it consistently dies over time (proper fe...
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Houston, TX
Source for Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana)
Hello, I am in search of some Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana). Thanks,
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Houston, TX
Fasciation in Houston.
I live in Houston and have had a rather large flower garden for many years. Most of the flowers are just gorgeous but over the last two or three years I have noticed that occasionally some of the flo...
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Houston, TX
Smarty Plants on endangered Texas wildflowers
We are interested in including a list of endangered Texas wildflowers in our garden club yearbook. Can you provide such a list?
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Houston, TX
Fertilizing hayfield with wildflowers in Brenham TX
I have property near Brenham, TX that produces wild bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers each year. I would like to fertilize the pastures to help with hay production (the grass is ha...
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Houston, TX
Smarty Plants on wildflower guides
Can you recommend a field guide to Texas plants?
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Houston, TX
Native vine to cover brick column in Houston
I have a brick column (~20ft tall) in the entry way to my house in Houston, TX. I am looking for a beautiful native vine that'll cover the column and soften the look of the house. I don't want to us...
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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
Care of Florida Blue or Lisiantus in Houston
I'm in Houston, Texas and I'm growing, for the first time, Florida blues, Eustoma, purple. Since I am from California I'm not familiar with this plant. It's beautiful. How do I care for them i...
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Houston, TX
Argemone pleiacantha for Houston
Hey, Mr. Smarty Plants! Please allow me to offer a spell check on a plant that I inquired about last night. It's Argemone pleiacantha. I live in Houston, TX, and have been told that it will bloom ...
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Houston, TX
Mealybugs on non-native Lady Palm in Houston
Rather than dabbing rubbing alcohol on the leaves of an indoor lady palm infested with mealybugs,since the infestation is widespread, would spraying the palm with the rubbing alcohol be effective?
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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
Source for two violas for Houston
I live in Houston, TX. Can you tell me where I can buy viola rotundifolia and viola cucullata? I understand these are round-leaved yellow violet and marsh blue violet respectively. I stumbled on these...
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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
Nuttall oak to replace ornamental pears in Houston, TX?
We recently bought a house in the heart of Houston that has 2 huge flaming pear trees that were planted too close to the house and just engulf the house. Our landscaper suggested taking them out and ...
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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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