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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
Power line friendly tree for Houston, TX
Can you recommend a fast-growing, drought tolerant tree (preferably native) to plant next to a driveway that will provide shade on the southern elevation of a one-story bungalow and also not interfere...
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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
How Can I Replace my Lawn with Natives in Houston, Texas
I want to remove the turf grass from my lawn and put in gravel and sand. I want to put in native and adapted plants that will attract butterflies and I want different native and adapted ornamental g...
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Houston, TX
How can I propagate wax myrtle by soft-wood or semi-hardwood cuttings?
Mr. Smartypants, I would like to propagate wax myrtle from mature plants I have growing in my yard here in Houston. I've read on the wildflower website to use "softwood" or "semi-hardwood" c...
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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
Fast-growing tree for Houston
Please suggest me fast growing tree like Eucalyptus for Zip 77099 to protect building with its shade. I understand Eucalyptus is not good for our area and is flammable. Any other with similar fast gro...
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Houston, TX
Source for Acer leucoderm (chalk maple)
Do you know where I can purchase a chalk maple (Acer leucoderme)?
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Houston, TX
Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
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houston, TX
At what age should a Mountain Laurel bloom?
At what age should a Texas Mountain Laurel bloom? I saw your response about feeding and about how high nitrogen fertilizers can diminish blooms but is there anything that will help, eg. "super bloom...
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Houston, TX
Appearance of Viola lanceolota after controlled burn
Oh Great Green Guru, I just recently found Viola lanceolota (bog white violet) on a portion of Brazos Bend State Park’s prairie that was burned about 2 months ago to control for woody growth. (I wou...
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Houston, TX
Plants for low light in Houston
I moved from a home in New Jersey to an apartment in Houston, TX -inside court - low light. I can't keep houseplants alive., What do you recommend that I try here? Both inside the apartment and on ...
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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
Mexican Lime Turning Yellow
What causes moderate yellowing of 40% of the leaves of an 8 year old Mexican Lime Tree that is booming and blooming right now with lots of thick new growth? I used a general garden fertilizer a few ...
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Houston, TX
School project picking wildflowers
We have a Biology PreAp class in our high school that has their students do a wildflower project each year. The teacher gives the students a list of 25 wildflowers and the children have to locate, pi...
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Houston, TX
Having a problem with my Mexican Plum in Houston, TX.
I am having problems with the Mexican Plum Tree in my backyard, sap is oozing from the branches and several large branches have died. I am inclined to think that it I have infestation of borers? How ...
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Houston, TX
Plants that ducks and geese will not eat
Hello, I have a pet duck and goose. Who I love dearly and have built two ponds for.. one 4ft deep the other 6ft deep. The ponds are for their use, first and for most, but I would like to have a plan...
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Houston, TX
Will Habiturf thrive in Houston?
Will Habiturf grow in partial sun? My lawn is surrounded by trees so that there is only about an hour each day with direct overhead sun. The rest of the day there is a light shade.
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Houston, TX
Living lightly on the land
Are most of the materials used in the Center recyclable materials? For instance, the wood floors and HVAC systems? Thanks, Joel Rodriguez
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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
Small, slow-growing native tree for Houston
Can you please recommend a pretty, small, slow growing tree for my bed centerpiece? It gets some sun/partial shade in front of my Houston area north facing home and must survive heat and some drought...
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