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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Plano, TX
Help, I know nothing!
Where can I find someone who can give me advice on my flowers, plants, trees and shrubs? I bought a house with a lot of flower beds containing many different varieties of greenery and don't know...
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Plano, TX
Smarty Plants on caliche
I have heard of sand, silt, clay, and loam, but what is caliche?
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Plano, TX
Perennial plants for butterfly garden
Hello, I live in Plano, TX and I am trying to create a backyard garden which will attract butterflies. I prefer bulbs and perennials so that I will not have to replant again and again like annuals. A...
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Plano, TX
Transplanting Magnolia grandiflora
We just moved to Plano TX and there's a magnolia tree planted between our house and the driveway. (The tree is 7ft tall and it's about 7ft from the side of house and 4ft from the driveway) I alway...
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Plano, TX
Plants for a container bog garden in North Texas
I live in Plano, just north of Dallas. I've developed a recent interest in water gardens and am considering getting my toes wet with a container bog garden. I have an old galvanized wash tub that I...
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Plano, TX
Livestock Watering Tanks Used for Container Gardening at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
We would like to use livestock watering tanks like the ones use the the Wildflower Center for plantings in our backyard in Plano, Texas. We have found some to purchase in McKinney, Texas. What do we n...
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Plano, TX
Using Native Plants Database to determine flowering time in Austin
How can I access your data base to learn what plants are flowering in Austin during the months of October and early November?
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Plano, TX
Replacing hawthorn bush with muhly grass from Plano TX
I am thinking of replacing a hawthorn bush with a muhly grass plant or two in an edged area with river rock cover in Plano, texas. It is the black soil and not a sandy loam. We have a sprinkler syst...
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Plano, TX
How close to a female tree will a male Possumhaw Holly need to be planted to ensure pollination in Plano, TX?
I would like to plant a female Possumhaw Holly in my yard. Does a male need to be planted nearby in order for the female to have berries? If so, how close must the male tree be located?
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Plano, TX
Landscape planning in Plano TX
I am devouring everything on your website and am so grateful that you put your knowledge and experience out there for all of us. Thank you!! I am trying to make a landscape plan for our Plano, TX b...
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Plano, TX
Will molasses harm beneficial organisms in my garden?
If I use molasses in the garden, I am hoping this will NOT kill the beneficial nematodes and my earth worms, or other good bugs such as lady bugs? Thanks.
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Plano, TX
Sun tolerant, rabbit-resistant plants in Plano, TX
I live in Plano, Texas and am trying to identify sun tolerant plants for my landscape that are also rabbit resistant. The rabbits have taken over and destroy pansies, marigolds, etc. I am looking fo...
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Plano, TX
Drought tolerant plants native to Plano, TX
I live in Plano Texas. We have drought conditions and I would like to redo our landscape with flowers that can handle Texas weather annually. My desire is: 1. Year round blooms 2. The ability ...
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Plano, TX
Obtaining seeds for mutant white bluebonnet
I have seen a white bluebonnet in Brenham on Easter and wondered how rare the white ones are and how you get seeds for those. Are there any special directions on collecting seeds for planting next fa...
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Plano, TX
Peeling bark on red oak in Plano, TX
I have a red oak that was planted 2 years ago. The trunk is approx. 5 in around. The bark around the bottom of the trunk is peeling off. At first we thought it was rabbits so we put some rabbit gua...
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Plano, TX
Germination of Texas wildflowers in jiffy pots
My daughter is planning to grow a Texas Wildflower (indoor for starters) garden for a project. We recently purchased seeds from your store. Will planting them in jiffy pots be sufficient to sprout t...
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Plano, TX
Groundcover for under oak in Plano, Texas
I live in Plano Texas USA. I have a huge live oak tree in my front yard and a large Cape Myrtle as well under these trees no grass will grow so we have dirt or mud when it rains. Fact is the front y...
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Plano, TX
Is Sucissa pratensis (Devil's bit scabious) allelopathic?
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center pointed me to you. Can you comment on Devil's Bit Scabious? A neighbor pointed out these volunteer plants in my yard and wants me to kill them. He called them Devi...
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Plano, TX
Looking for nursery selling Wrights skullcap (Scutellaria wrightii)
I'm located in Plano, and am trying to find seeds or seedlings for a plant species I saw at the LBJ Wildflower Center in Austin. I'm looking for a blue-flowering ground cover plant that is called W...
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Plano, TX
Cotton plant for yard in Plano
I wish to plant a specimen cotton plant in my yard - will it grow in Plano, Texas, do you have any tips for maintaining them, and will they survive freezing temperatures?
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Plano, TX
Growing Native Cactus Indoors in Dallas
I have a Chihuahuan fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus uncinatus), a pincushion cactus (Epithelantha micromeris) and a horse crippler (Echinocactus texensis), which I bring in for the winter, since they te...
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