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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!

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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
Red maple a casualty of Hurricane Ike in Houston
We have a 3 year old Drummond Red Maple, between the sidewalk and the street in front of our house, that fell during Hurricane Ike. We replanted it. I recently noticed that the bark is severely cracke...
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Houston, TX
Need help selecting maple cultivars in Houston.
I live in Houston, TX and would like to plant 2 red maples in my front yard. I know there are multiple varieties planted down here, but I can't tell which one would do best. The ones that I've come ...
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Houston, TX
Plants for Painted Lady
Where can I buy plants for the painted lady butterfly larvae in Houston?
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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
Soil Loosener/Pollinator Plants for Houston
I am trying to establish a mostly-native pollinator way-station in a recently purchased lot in a 100 year old neighborhood in Houston. Much of the property has a thick layer of oyster shell four to si...
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Houston, TX
Source for Gulf Muhly for Houston
Could you help me find a seed source for Gulf Muhly, Muhlenbergia capillaris please? I need enough for about 2 acres. Thanks.
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Houston, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower seed mix
Where can I buy "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower seed mix? Does such a thing exist? It seems like years ago my neighbor had some packets that she planted in her front yard, they were gorgeous! I woul...
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Houston, TX
Bluebonnets for Shanghai
I am a Texas native that now lives in Shanghai, and I am trying to grow a little piece of home (Texas bluebonnets) indoors, and I was wondering: a. Do you have any ideal soil recipes that bluebonne...
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Houston, TX
Disposal of non-native invasive Houttuynia cordata
I am a homeower in The Woodlands with a very difficult problem in my butterfly garden. I have an impossibly invasive weed that I cannot get rid of -- so much so that I'm thinking of just paving ov...
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Houston, TX
Trees for cutout in driveway in Houston
I live in central Houston. I have a new driveway with a cutout of 4' x 8'. I would like to plant a shade tree that will not break up the concrete. What do you recommend?
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Houston, TX
Problem with leaf cutting bees in Houston, TX
I have four Arapaho crepe myrtle trees in my backyard and two have leaves, especially the young leaves, being eaten by something. I do not see ants of beetles on the leaves and have not seen any bees ...
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Houston, TX
Deer-resistant groundcover for New Braunfels, TX
Could you recommend some deer resistant ground cover plants for the New Braunfels area? We have tried Ajuga and Katie's Ruellia and they have been eaten.
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HOUSTON, TX
Need plants to shade on a west-facing wall in Houston, TX
What plants are best to provide shade on a west facing wall in Houston. I am looking for plants that help to cool the house.
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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
Pruning Post Oaks
I live in Houston and have two post oaks. One is right by my house. I'd like to trim them but was told they are sensitive and might die if I trim them. Is this true? What is the right course of ac...
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Houston, TX
Care for non-native tropical hibiscus in Houston
How to care for a tropical hibiscus plant? How much water, sun, fertilizer? I am novice gardener in Houston, TX. From much reading, April seems to be the month I cut all blooms and let the plant lie d...
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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
Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
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Houston, TX
Source for Bamboo muhly from Houston
Hello. Do you know a source in Texas for Bamboo Muhly? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Houston, TX
Small area native plant gardening for an apartment
Mr.Smarty, We live in an apartment and are fortunate to have a small area, 5'x5', and so want color! Here in Houston the winters don't freeze much and the summers are HOT. Luckily, we are in the ...
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