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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 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
Why isn't Lantana camara in NPIN?
Why don't you have Lantana camara in your data base? It is very common here, and is in the USDA database.
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Houston, TX
Flowering ofPluchea odorata in Houston, TX
I sprouted Pluchea odorata seeds this spring, but the plants seem too small to bloom this year. Although your website characterizes this plant as an annual, do you think it will survive the Houston wi...
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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
Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
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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
Smarty Plants on wildflower guides
Can you recommend a field guide to Texas plants?
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Houston, TX
Ligustrums planted last summer are doing poorly in Houston, TX.
I planted large mature ligustrums trees (~ 8 ft) last summer and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Can you please tell me what the cause of this might be and what we can do to prevent th...
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Houston, TX
Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
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Houston, TX
Instructions for composting in southeast Texas
Do you ever offer composting classes? I live in Houston and would like to start composting in my backyard... are there any particular books you would recommend for composting in SE TX? Thank you!
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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
Are drought-tolerant landscape plantings protected by Texas law?
I was told that Texas has a law in regards to drought tolerant natives and Homeowners Associations. Do you know what it states and how one can find a copy of it? I got a notice from my HOA saying ...
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Houston, TX
Young yaupon trunks bending in Houston
I have new yaupon in this their second summer which are bending over about half-way up their trunk, at around two feet - do I trim them or stake them?
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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
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
Plants for under live oak in Houston
Hi, We have a live oak in our back garden in Houston and would like to plant a combination of some native shrubs and flowers near it (preferably perennial). The garden bed is about 4 metres from the...
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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
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
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
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...
view the full question and answer

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 lilacs survive in Houston?
My wife loves the smell of Lilacs (we're originally from Oregon), but we don't see any here in Houston. Is it possible to get lilacs to survive in Southeast Texas?
view the full question and answer

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