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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

Houston, TX
Live oak leaves turning yellow after planting in Houston
We bought a 65 gallon live oak in early October, and have been watering fairly heavily three days a week. It seemed OK, then all of a sudden lots of the leaves are turning yellow. Is it getting too ...
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Bellaire, TX
How to propagate Texas red buckeye (Aesculus sp.) from seeds
I have a Texas Red Buckeye that is doing very well. How do I propagate from the seeds that come off of that tree? Thanks,
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Bellaire, TX
Changing colors on Mexican Plum trees from Bellaire TX
The leaves on my Mexican Plum tree have recently started turning yellow/brown and the veins in leaves are red. Is this a watering issue or disease issue? Mites are on the leaves. This has been a ra...
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Bellaire, TX
Smarty Plants on Herbertia lahue
Herbertia lahue is now blooming in Russ Pitman Park in Bellaire, TX. Below is a story about it. I heard that the plant is a protected species, but I could not find anything to confirm that. Could y...
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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
Fertilizing hayfield with wildflowers in Brenham TX
I have property near Brenham, TX that produces wild bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers each year. I would like to fertilize the pastures to help with hay production (the grass is ha...
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Houston, TX
Need Plants and Soil for a Green Roof in Buffalo, TX
I'm building a green roof on my cabin in the Buffalo, Texas, area. Would you know what soil and plants would be best suited for that area? I have a lot of sand I could use, but didn't know if that...
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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
Flowers at the Wildflower Center
What common wildflowers are in the Wildflower Center?
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Houston, TX
Problems with non-native Banana Shrub from Houston
My 7' beloved Banana Shrub (magnolia) has white dots on top of the leaves and nasty black stuff covering the backside of the leaves. The plant is dropping leaves. What can I do to save it? I has bee...
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Houston, TX
Propagation of mustang grape
I'm looking to plant several vines of mustang grapes near my parents retirement home in Beeville, TX (78102). I really have two questions - what's the best way to find them at a nursery or relocate...
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Houston, TX
Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
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Houston, TX
Mowable grass to grow under pecan trees in Houston, Texas.
I read your answer on grasses that will grow under pecans, but Iím looking for a grass that will blend in a bit with the rest of our St. Augustine grass yard. Something I can mow. Our pecan trees are ...
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Houston, TX
Returning empty landscape to native plants
I live in a subdivision that backs up to a 40 +/- piece of land that is called Texas Safari, I think. Between TS and my fence is a piece of ground about 50-60' wide and 100-150 yards long. Some of th...
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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
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
Information about cenizo care and care of non-native tibouchinas
I just bought some tibouchinas and need some tips. I plan to plant them in an area that gets sun until about 2pm, then shade for the rest of the day. Will these plants thrive in this environment, or w...
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Houston, TX
Buffalograss for Houston
Will 609 buffalograss sod perform well in Houston, Texas? I am being told that it will yellow and get filled with weeds and that it won't handle the humidity. Is this all true? Help, please.
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Houston, TX
Native Hill Country grasses, flowers for April garden show
I will be a first ever (!) exhibitor in my garden club's garden show this April 7. Our theme is The Passion of Texas - my specific category is The Hill Country. Help!!! All materials I use must be al...
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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
Low privacy hedge in Houston
I am looking for a fast growing, dense (for privacy) shrub/s or plants, that will get at least 3-4+ feet high for a mostly shady area. Thanks.
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