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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

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
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
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
Doodlebugs in dead area of Coral Bean from Houston
I have a Firemans coralbean tree about 5 years old. I discovered yesterday in the middle of the tree there is some deadwood where we have pruned out branches. A couple of the branches were filled with...
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Houston, TX
Solution for wet area near fence
I just moved into a house that is 10 years old on the north side of Houston, Texas. When it rains the water pools about 1 to 3 inches deep around the beds with trees (pine, sweet gum and chinaberry) ...
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Houston, TX
Native grasses for central Georgia
We've just bought a 1990 circa house in Dallas, Georgia. It sits on a .62 acre lot. One half of the lot is woods, the rest is lawn. The lawn is covered mostly with weeds and wild strawberries. ...
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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
Native trees that host moths and butterflies for birds in Houston Texas
I have learned that non-native or alien plants do not attract the insects that the birds need to live on. I would like to know which native trees for central Texas have the greatest hosting capacity ...
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Houston, TX
Tall skinny plant with tubelike flowers
I already posted a question regarding a skinny plant with tiny tube like flowers and you gave me 6 possibilities unfortunately it is not one of them. I happened to see the plant again in my neighborh...
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Houston, TX
Native ground cover for Houston
I'm interested in finding native ground cover, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a steep slope along Soldiers Creek. Currently there is Jasmine, ivy, prairie spiderwort...
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Houston, TX
Native Hill Country grasses, flowers for April garden show
I will be a first ever (!) exhibitor in my garden club's garden show this April 7. Our theme is The Passion of Texas - my specific category is The Hill Country. Help!!! All materials I use must be al...
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Houston, TX
Native plants to provide nitrogen for compost in Houston
I leave my clippings on the lawn so I don't have enough 'green' for my compost. I'd like to plant an unobtrusive area with some native that I can mow on a monthly basis. The area is in partial...
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Houston, TX
Will shoes pick up American Beautyberry fruit and stain carpets?
Do the berries from American Beautyberry fall on the ground so your shoes pick up the berries to stain the carpet in my house?
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Houston, TX
Need help replacing a non-functioning pond in Houston, TX.
I have a non-functioning, shell-shaped, concrete pond in a shaded part of my backyard that has been a great place to grow mosquitoes since I got this place. I have decided that it is time for a chang...
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Houston, TX
Privacy hedge that can be trimmed
Please help us find a screening plant or tree (preferably native and evergreen with flowering and/or berries) which is non-invasive, not a vine, at least six feet tall if not taller, which can be easi...
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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
Strappy leaves on rudbeckias from Houston
My Rudbeckias keep sending up odd shoots with strappy leaves on them. Should these be cut off? What is their purpose?
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houston, TX
Need an evergreen flowering vine to cover a fence in Houston, TX.
Looking for an evergreen flowering vine to cover my fence. caveat? one part of the fence is within 5 feet from the air conditioning unit which blows a lot of hot air, the area takes a day or two to dr...
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Houston, TX
Small tree for Houston
I want to plant a tree southwest of my one-story house. The area is 25 feet wide, from the house to the power line. Desirable qualities include being a Texas native, deciduous, drought tolerant, and h...
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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
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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