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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
Is non-native Japanese Blueberry tree fruit poisonous to cats and dogs from Houston
Are Japanese Blueberry Tree fruit poisonous? I have dogs and cats and I was concerned if they ate them. I also live in the Houston, TX area.
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Houston, TX
Plants for shade
I live in hot, humid Houston and the tree coverage of my yard is nearly 100 percent (so, little sunlight reaches the ground). Can you suggest a plant or two that would thrive in these conditions?
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Houston, TX
Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
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Houston, TX
Plantings of Castilleja in Texas
I am a graduate student interested in studying different species of paintbrush (Castilleja) in Texas. I understand that the Texas Dept of Transportation has been seeding wildflowers along Texas highwa...
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Houston, TX
Carolina wolfberry blooms but doesn't produce fruit
I have had my carolina wolfberry for 2 years now ( I got it at the Wildflower center), it seems to be doing well, creeping all over the flower bed with some branches on the ground up to 6 ft long. It ...
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Houston, TX
Identifying native sedges
What's the best way to identify a specific sedge ?
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Houston, TX
Plant Identification in Houston, TX
This plant to a bout a foot high. It almost looks like a weed and has a 2 in. furry top at the end. Also they were all gathered in a clump randomly around each other. What is this ?
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Houston, TX
Failure to thrive of non-native closet plant
I have a closet plant that is not doing well no matter what I do or where I put it. What is the best way to care for one of these beautiful plants?
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Houston, TX
Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
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Houston, TX
Blocking stolons of St. Augustine grass
I have St. Augustine in my yard, and I am sick of edging the stolons that grow onto the sidewalk and driveway. Is there any way to stop the stolons or block them so that I can just mow and throw away ...
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Houston, TX
Is this a sycamore tree in Houston TX?
I believe I have a 6 year old American Sycamore planted in front of my condo. There are no seed pods (balls) ever on this tree. I thought all Sycamores have those. Is my tree too young to produce the ...
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Houston, TX
Damaged Shumard oak tree in Polk County Texas
I have a native Shumard Red Oak on our property in Polk County Texas that suffered damage (top blown out) during Hurricane Ike. Last year, one side of the tree browned early while the other side stay...
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Houston, TX
Shade tolerant low shrub for Houston
Please suggest a shade loving shrub that doesn't get more than 3' tall for a foundation planting along a front porch in Houston, TX. I prefer native, drought resistant if possible. No nursery person...
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Houston, TX
Erosion control for slope to detention pond
We have been required by code to build a detention pond for new church buildings in the Webster, TX (Clear Lake) area. There is a serious erosion of soil from water runoff from the building roof need...
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Houston, TX
Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
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Houston, TX
Non-native Crape Myrtle
My local nursery saw the flower and said I have a crape myrtle...is this the common name or botanical name?
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Houston, TX
Control of grasses in wildflower gardening
We have been trying to manage and grow a plot of wildflowers in Madisonville, Texas just east of Bryan / College Station on a charity organizations site for 3 years with some success. The grasses have...
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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
New growth on live oaks in Houston
My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
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Houston, TX
Yucca filamentosa suffering from damp feet in Houston
Last year, I planted three enormous and gorgeous Yucca Filamentosa in my backyard. Two are thriving but the third started turning yellow then brown from the bottom up after a few weeks of rains. S...
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