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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Rhizobium sources for bluebonnets
Where can you buy Rhizobium for your bluebonnet seeds?
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Houston, TX
Want a source for Mexican redbud in Houston, TX
I live in west Houston and would like to purchase and plant a Mexican redbud in my yard. I have Googled to find one and also searched the Growit site without success. Where can I find one in Texas? I ...
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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
Sources for ruellia from Houston
I want to get a bunch of either ruellia nudiflora or ruellia drummondiana in my butterfly garden. But I cannot find it anywhere, and I have no idea where to get plants or seeds. Seems most vendors...
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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
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
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
Flowering Shrub for Houston, TX
I live in Houston, Texas and would like to plant a flowering shrub 3-6 feet in height. It will get sun to part sun, 2-6 hours daily. I have had azaleas in this area and am now looking for something to...
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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
Argemone pleiacantha for Houston
Hey, Mr. Smarty Plants! Please allow me to offer a spell check on a plant that I inquired about last night. It's Argemone pleiacantha. I live in Houston, TX, and have been told that it will bloom ...
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Houston, TX
Identification of tree with round purple leaves
What is tne name of the purple leaf tree whose leaves are spherical? Maybe 1 to 2" in diameter? A neighbor who has moved now, had one but cut it down before i could find out or rescue it. It wasnt ...
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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
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
Caterpillars on Carolina buckthorn (Frangula caroliniana)
I have a Carolina buckthorn and last year there were interesting looking caterpillars munching on the leaves. They were camouflaged to look a bit like bird droppings. The plant database makes no ment...
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