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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

hockley, TX
A bounty of options for planting natives in Hockley Texas
I have about 1 acre of land in Hockley Texas, outside Houston, that we had cleared of shrubs and poison ivy. We kept the trees so there are some areas with mostly shade and some areas with partial su...
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Hockley, TX
Plant identification
There is a plant growing on the side of the road near my home. The stalk of it is thistle like with many prickles. The flower on it is white and has 6 petals.
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Hockley, TX
Removing poison ivy around live oak in Hockley TX
We have a large live oak in our backyard, estimated to be over 100 years old. I am working on clearing out the brush that is under the tree. Can I spray commercially available poison ivy killer in t...
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Hockley, TX
Native evergreen vine for East Texas
Can you please recommend a native vine (western edge of East Texas in the pines) that will be evergreen and fast growing? It will get about 4 to 5 hours of sun on my moongate. Flowers a plus, but not ...
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Hockley, TX
Need a native tree for full sun in Hockley, TX
What native trees should I plant for full sun. I am building on a 1/2 acre previously used as grazing land on the original Katy prairie. I need one large shade tree, a few smaller ornamentals, and a...
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Hockley, TX
Is non-native mascagnia macroptera poisonous to animals from Hockley TX
Is Mascagmia macroptra (Butterfly Vine) poisonous to animals (horses and dogs)?
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Hockley, TX
Survival of native lawn in Hockley TX
I'm on the edge of the Katy Prairie and a very large ranch with full blasting sun and completely open exposure. The soil is fill from the developers with more clay than sand, a minimum of nutrients,...
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Hockley, TX
Native grasses for horse and cattle forage in Hockley, Texas
I would like to know the best type of native hay to seed on 10 acres in Hockley, Tx. The hay will be used for forage for horses and a milk cow. We would like to go completely organic and not use any ...
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Waller, TX
Non-poisonous, non-allergenic plants for privacy fence
I'm looking to put in some plants to create a privacy fence against one side of my property. I'd like a mix of plants that grow well together in order to create a diverse look. I need something ever...
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Waller, TX
Invasive, non-native Siberian peashrub for waller TX
Good Morning Mr. Smarty Plants! I am trying to find out if the Siberian Pea Shrub is a good plant for Southeast Texas or if it is considered an invasive no no. It seems to have many qualities for wild...
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Waller, TX
Native trees safe for cattle in Waller TX
I have a ranch where the pastures have no trees. Can you recommend native species which as safe for cattle and relatively maintenance free?
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Waller, TX
Creating a bluebonnet patch between Brenham and Houston.
I am creating a Bluebonnet patch in a well-drained section of my flowerbed. I just planted the plants (it is now early April and I'm between Houston and Brenham, TX). I plan to let them go to seed ...
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Cypress, TX
Non-native tropical Butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera) in Houston
HOWDY . . . Miss Smarty Plants !!! I am trying to identify one of the most intriguing, unusual & beautiful vines that I have ever seen. I encountered this vine at the home of an 87 year old widow ...
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Cypress, TX
Leaf drop from live oaks in mid-summer
We have a live oak that is starting to drop a considerable amount of leaves here in early July in Cypress Texas. Its a mature tree with a base diameter of 12-14" and 25-30' tall. We live in a subd...
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Cypress, TX
Texas natives for a small garden with red flowers
I have a garden that is 4' deep, what can I put there that is a Texas native, I would really like some color (preferably red)also it needs to be able to grow tall (8 - 10')
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Cypress, TX
Removal of bramble under live oaks and replacing with groundcover
We have several large live oaks on the front of our 12 acre property in Hockley, Texas. Under and around each oak is an extensive amount of bramble which we would like to remove so that we can enjoy ...
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Cypress, TX
I need an evergreen vine to hide an ugly fence.
I am looking to find a vine that will be on my south facing fence. I would like it to be evergreen as to hide my ugly fence.
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Cypress, TX
Ground cover for partly sunny, wet area in Cypress, TX
I am in need of a ground cover to plant in an area close to our entryway. The area is shady to partly sunny, holds water in rainy weather, and has a shrub border. We are in Texas. Any ideas? Thank...
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Cypress, TX
Planting a Willow Close to a Water Line
I have a postage stamp-sized front yard, with the water tap in the front 1/3. I believe the water line runs right through the middle of my pss-front yard. I REALLY wanted to plant a weeping willow t...
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Cypress, TX
Bignoniaceae Family Members Fix Nitrogen?
Do plants in the Bignoniaceae family, such as Tecoma stans and Chilopsis linearis, fix nitrogen into the soil? I ask because they have a bean-type pod. Just curious.
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Cypress, TX
Native Grasses for Houston, TX
What native grasses can I use for my lawn in Houston, TX? It appears that Habiturf is not recommended for our climate. Is there another variety of seed available yet that I can use to start a small ...
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