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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Houstson, TX
Plant identification
Have two clippings from Monday the 11th that were growing out of small stumps. Tried to send you pictures of both cuttings of leaves. If you could tell me what you think they are, I would be thankful...
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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
Plants for winter installation in Houston
What plants can you plant in the winter, Houston, Texas?
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Houston, TX
Returning empty landscape to native plants
I live in a subdivision that backs up to a 40 +/- piece of land that is called Texas Safari, I think. Between TS and my fence is a piece of ground about 50-60' wide and 100-150 yards long. Some of th...
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Houston, TX
Locating Rubus trivialis (Dewberry) In Houston
Where can I purchase dewberry (Rubus trivialis) seeds &/or plants? I live in the Houston, Texas, area, and the area has grown so much that I can no longer locate dewberry plants. I would like to plant...
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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
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
Hungry turtles trample pond in Houston Texas
I have a very large back yard pond (actually, a former swimming pool) that's home to a bullfrog, four Red-eared slider turtles, and scads of gambusia (little mosquito eating fish). I'd like to add n...
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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
Source for Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana)
Hello, I am in search of some Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana). Thanks,
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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
You are welcome
Dear Mills, You are right. My elm has elm finger galls. Thank you
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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
Native plants for containers on patio in Houston
What native plants in Texas (I live in Houston) will do well in pots on my patio- they get about 1/2 day sunlight. Is there anything shrub-like that will live from year to year? Thank you
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Houston, TX
Propagation of mustang grape
I'm looking to plant several vines of mustang grapes near my parents retirement home in Beeville, TX (78102). I really have two questions - what's the best way to find them at a nursery or relocate...
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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
Comparison of native turf with St. Augustine and Kentucky bluegrass
The native turf page mentions outperforming Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, and Kentucky blue, but the graphs only compare the natives to Bermudagrass. How do the native mixes stand up to St. Augustine...
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Houston, TX
Identification of maypop north of Houston
I have some land in the country an hour north of Houston, Texas. There is a wild plant which grows in clusters from 10' to 20' wide. These plants grow about 6" or 12" apart.They are approx. one fo...
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Houston, TX
Will the sea water from Hurricane Ike residually affect Galveston's soil
Most of the trees on Galveston Island died following Hurricane Ike, apparently as a result of the sea water that covered the island. Will the sea water that soaked the soil have a residual effect on...
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Houston, TX
Arizona Ash dropping seed pods and waste in Houston
My Arizona Ash tree is dropping seed pods and other waste on my deck and walkway. It has never done this before in the 14 years we have had it. We did get it cut back last winter. Could this be the re...
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Houston, TX
Problem with American Beautyberry in Houston.
My American Beautyberry is dying one branch at a time. The entire plant looks great, now flowering and starting to put out berries. Then one or two branches will completely die. Trim those off, wi...
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