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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.

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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
Smarty Plants on caliche
I have heard of sand, silt, clay, and loam, but what is caliche?
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Plano, TX
Wildflower seeds that do well in black clay soil from Plano TX
What native wildflower seeds do best in black clay soil? We live in Plano along creek w/ 8,000 sq. ft. in full sun. No manmade water source. Suggestions?
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Plano, TX
Ground cover for Plano, Texas
Looking for perennial seeds, maximum height 6 inches. Basically, a ground cover. Flowering would be nice but not #1 on list. Medium to maximum sun. Don't have the best soil, but fertilizer, sprink...
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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
Best place for picking wildflowers in Austin
Where is the best place to find wildflowers for picking near or in Austin around the end of March?
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Plano, TX
Will non-native St. Augustine crowd out non-native bermudagrass in Plano TX
I have Bermuda sod via builder, looked great for 3+ years. then had crack house neighbors max weeds for 2+ years. Killing them (the weeds) had a toll on the grass. Now a fifth of the LOSER neighbor...
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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
Gaura drying out in Plano TX
My gaura plant of 3 years suddenly seems to be drying out and no longer green or blooming?
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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
Evergreen ground covers and low plants for Dallas area
Would like a list of low growing (24" or less) evergreen plants including ground covers, scrubs, etc-flowering and non-flowering that are hardy and require low maintenance in the Dallas area. So ofte...
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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
Medicinal plants in North Texas
Hi, I would appreciate some sort of list for medicinal plants in North Tx. I'm a photographer wanting to photograph this type of plant life. Thanks!!
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Plano, TX
Evergreen tree for privacy screen in Collin County, Texas
I am looking for a shrub or tree that will serve as a privacy screen. I would like it to grow very tall and be thick to help provide some privacy. I live in Collin County, and the area where the tre...
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Plano, TX
Small native flowering plants for Plano, TX
Suggestions for native flowering plants small enough for a border planting? I live in Plano TX, just north of Dallas. Zone 8.
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Plano, TX
Desert Willow tree for Plano, TX
I live near Dallas, Texas. I have a small Desert Willow tree that I would like to plant. What is the root system of this tree like? Would I be able to plant it near our patio? How far from the house'...
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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
Prosopsis velutina (velvet mesquite), Larrea tridentata (creosote bush), rain smell
I am an El Paso native living in Plano TX. I terribly miss the smell of rain in El Paso and have learned that this smell is due to the velvet mesquite tree and also the creosote bush, among other thi...
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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
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
Plants that will withstand spray from fountain and heat from concrete
Working on a property in Plano, I have an area around a fountain, surrounded by concrete, in full sun, that receives a lot of water that is blown from the fountain (which is treated with chlorine tabl...
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