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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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Missouri City, TX
Pruning Copper Plants
I planted two beautiful copper plants in my front beds. They went wild during the fall, but got so leggy that I cut them back nearly to the ground, which I believe was a mistake. Will they come back o...
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Missouri City, TX
Native lawn solution for Southeast Texas from Missouri City TX
I noticed the native lawn article regarding Habiturf states it is for "North, West and Central Texas". What is the recommended native lawn solution for Southeast Texas/Gulf Coast (Houston/Galveston...
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Missouri City, TX
Native perennials for Missouri City, TX
I checked all the questions for my area and still need help. What are some native perennials for southeast Texas
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Magnolia, Tx, TX
Plant identification
We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
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Sugar Land, TX
Thorny shrub for deterring break-ins in southeast Texas
Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native.
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Sugar Land, TX
Roots of Savannah Holly close to house
I live in Sugar Land and want to plant Savannah Holly at the ends of both sides of the front flowerbed. Are the roots too dangerous to plant so close to the house? (How far from the house should they...
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Sugar Land, TX
Large Leaved Trees in Sugarland, TX
Can you give me a list of trees which bear thick and broad leaves?
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Sugar Land, TX
Restoring disturbed land in Marshall, TX.
I have a 30 acre tract of land in Marshall, Texas. The oil company has turned 2-3 acres surrounding the rig into gravel. I would like to return the gravel area to green space. Any suggestions on gras...
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Sugar Land, TX
Is Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittonianna) toxic to dogs
I would like to know if the plant known as Mexican petunia,or Katie dwarf (Ruellia brittonianna) is toxic for dogs. Thank you. Thank you.
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Sugar Land, TX
Fast-growing non-invasive shrub for privacy fence in Sugar Land TX
I live in South Texas in Sugar Land. I was going to plant oleanders in my backyard along the fence as a privacy hedge, about 20 feet from my house. However, I was told they were a bad choice becaus...
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Sugar Land, TX
Non-native weeping willow losing leaves
We have a willow tree (weeping), which sprung up naturally about 12 years ago. It has done very well until this summer. After its bloom in late March, it is losing its leaves again..turning yellow and...
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Sugar Land, TX
Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
I've had a Texas mountain laurel for 4 years that's being trained into a tree. I think it was a 3-year old tree when I purchased it. Unfortunately, it has suffered from overwatering, and the two mai...
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Sugar Land, TX
Need help with my Mountain Laurel in Sugarland, TX
Texas Mountain Laurel - My plant's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I don't know if this is caused from over watering or under watering. I have skipped days of watering to see if it will h...
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Sugar Land, TX
Need suggestions for groundcover in between flagstones in patio in Sugarland, TX.
We are looking for a ground cover to plant in between our flagstone on our courtyard patio. The courtyard is full sun and we currently have a crushed rock-like substance in between the pieces. I thou...
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Sugar Land, TX
Non-native cannas in Sugar Land, TX
I just planted some beautiful canna lilies along my fenceline (about 8 inches off the property line and 2 ft between each plant). My neighbor complained that they were going to go wild and sprout up o...
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Sugar Land, TX
Webs on trees and porch
i have webs all over my semi covered porch in my back yard. i have noticed these small webs are also on the trees in my backyard. what are they and are they dangerous to the trees or my family who sit...
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Sugarland, TX
Solution to preserve cut wildflowers from Sugarland TX
What is the best solution to preserve cut wildflowers in? Thank you.
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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
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
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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Fresno, TX
Need information about planting Red Maples in Houston, TX.
I want to plant some Drummond Red Maples in my front yard. What cultivars would you recommend, and what is the absolute smallest amount of space possible between two of these trees?
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