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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
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
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
Freeze damage to my Norfolk Island Pine in Houston, TX
Houston, Texas experienced a rare 3-day snow event this winter that allowed snow to stay on my 20 ft. Norfolk Pine, in the ground for over 10 yrs. Every branch is now brown with all dead foliage. I ha...
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Houston, TX
Small area native plant gardening for an apartment
Mr.Smarty, We live in an apartment and are fortunate to have a small area, 5'x5', and so want color! Here in Houston the winters don't freeze much and the summers are HOT. Luckily, we are in the ...
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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
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
A Pipevine poisonous to Pipevine Swallowtails
I have heard that a specific Pipevine is poisonous to the larva of Pipevine Swallowtails. Is this true? If so, what is the poisonous species of Pipevine, and what other types can I plant that will not...
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Houston, TX
Removal of thistles from Columbus TX
I am sorry if you have an answer in FAQs but I could not find it. We recently cleared property near Columbus Texas of many cedars (ash junipers). This spring we experienced a profusion of thistle -...
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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
TIps for tree grafting.
When should you start grafting trees?
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Houston, TX
Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question ...
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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
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
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
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
Problem with American Beautyberry in Houston.
My American Beautyberry is dying one branch at a time. The entire plant looks great, now flowering and starting to put out berries. Then one or two branches will completely die. Trim those off, wi...
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Houston, TX
Native plants to provide nitrogen for compost in Houston
I leave my clippings on the lawn so I don't have enough 'green' for my compost. I'd like to plant an unobtrusive area with some native that I can mow on a monthly basis. The area is in partial...
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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
Where to buy native grass seeds for Blanco County Texas
Can you recommend what kind and where to buy native grass seeds to sow on land in Blanco County which has just been cleared of cedar and burned?
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Houston, TX
Need a source for 100 lbs of Bluebonnet seeds.
Where can one buy 100 lbs (yes lbs) of bluebonnet seeds? Any suggestions on where I can most economically do so? Trying to spread the love :)
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