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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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
Large shrub or tree for front door in Houston
I am in search of a shrub or tree to plant next to my front door. I want a showy medium sized shrub or tree (8 to 12 ft), decorative, and a privacy screen since my front door faces my next door neig...
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Houston, TX
Native moss to fill in between flagstones
I live in Houston and have a long, narrow flagstone path that runs along the east side of the house. I am looking for a native moss that can fill in between the flagstones and will tolerate morning su...
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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
Transplanting a bald cypress from Houston
We would like to transplant a bald cypress from front yard to back. It is about 10 ft tall, 3" trunk diameter, 2-1/2 years old and in good health. Any idea how large the root ball might need to be du...
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Houston, TX
Browning leaves on Ilex vomitoria in Houston
Houston, we have a problem!!! I have a number of yaupon bushes that have been in my yard for years that have a large number of leaves turning a solid dark brown color. Any ideas of the cause?
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Houston, TX
Removal of weeds in buffalograss mix in Houston
I recently attempted to seed a small lawn area with a buffalo/blue grama grass mix, unfortunately for me the area has been hit hard with weeds. Is there an environmentally friendly method to reduce...
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Houston, TX
Shade-loving Grass for the Houston area
I have an ash tree that completely shades the majority of our front yard and is not allowing the St. Augustine grass to grow. Is there a shade-loving grass good for the Houston area?
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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
Texas wildflower blooms by month
What Texas wildflowers bloom in January across the state? And the same for the following months throughout the year. Thank you.
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Houston, TX
Vine for planters in Houston, Texas
i'm looking for a native climber/vine that would be suitable for a south facing facade that doesn't have a deep root system..to create a sort of green screen using planters sitting on the second lev...
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Houston, TX
Avoiding cutting field of wildflowers in Pearland, TX
How does one get a "wildflower pass" to avoid having to cut a GORGEOUS field of native flowers? Our church in Pearland has a couple of acres that we are required to keep cut, but it's currently aw...
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Houston, TX
Newly planted nuttall oaks from Houston TX
I recently purchased two Nuttall Oak Trees in Houston Texas (October). They are both 15' or taller. I planted them within 24 hours of being delivered, watered them in, staked them, and within 3-4 d...
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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
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
TIps for tree grafting.
When should you start grafting trees?
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Houston, TX
Encouraging bloom on non-native Batwing Erythrina
Hi! I have a Batwing Erythrina in the ground next to my driveway in full sun in Houston. It's nine years old and is about twenty feet tall, but it does not bloom. What can I do? Thanks for your s...
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Houston, TX
Plants for aerobic septic system in Houston
My husband and I would like to plants some trees and shrubs, but we have an aerobic system taking up most of the yard :( Can you recommend any trees that won't hurt that? Also shrubs for our weath...
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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
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
Identification of plant with long skinny stems and red flowers
I keep seeing around this very pretty plant that has long skinny stems and bright red flowers that are tube like and skinny too. I would love to get this plant but do not know what it is called.
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