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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
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
Source for Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana)
Hello, I am in search of some Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana). Thanks,
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Houston, TX
Perennial phlox for partial shade
I am planting a butterfly garden in a plot that gets sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. I read that phlox does well in partial-shade areas, and was wondering which native, perennial phlox ...
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Houston, TX
Failure to bloom of Texas Mountain Laurel
My +/- 4 yr old Tx. Mountain Laurel, has never bloomed. It is in full sun. I sometimes (minimal) fertilize it. I've pretty much planted it and let it grow. Its been pruned back last year when som...
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Houston, TX
Native host plants for Painted Lady Butterfly
I am looking for host plants for the Painted Lady Butterfly that I can plant in my school's (I am a teacher) native plant/butterfly garden. As part of the curriculum, each spring the 1st grade raises...
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Houston, TX
Native plants for shady small spaces in Houston, TX
What are the best plants and flowers to plant in small spaces in an urban area in Houston, Texas? I have several flower beds that are 3 foot wide and 10-12 foot long that get half day sun. The area...
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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
Can Dicentra exemia survive in Texas from Houston
Is the Houston/Austin area too hot to grow "Bleeding Hearts" dicentra eximia (King of Hearts) They seem to grow in the wild in Maryland, Virginia, and Tennessee.
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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
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
Non-native St. Augustine grass failing for 5 years in Houston
My townhome in Houston has a mid-size backyard, which receives full sun for much of the day. I've re-sodded with St. Augustine for 5 consecutive summers, but it consistently dies over time (proper fe...
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Houston, TX
Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
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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
Fruit trees for Bellville, TX
Which fruit trees will withstand heat and drought in the Bellville, Texas 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
Plant identification for Beeville, TX
Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I just saw this question on your web site: "Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower lo...
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Houston, TX
Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
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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
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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