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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

Pilot Point, TX
Smarty Plants on chile pequin
I cannot find plants or seeds for the chile pequin (birds eye chile) plant. Do you have any or know of any business or person from whom I may purchase them?
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Pilot Point, TX
Evergreen perennials for a pond bank in Texas
We want evergreen perennial plants for the banks of our small pond. The banks are eroding and we need to help keep them strong. We have ducks in the pond and lots of turtles. We would love something ...
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Pilot Point, TX
Grasses for shady areas
I would like to know which grasses would grow in mostly shady part of the house.
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Tioga, TX
Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal...
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Tioga, TX
What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, TX?
What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, Texas called? They are dark green with spiky leaves and rough bark. I have a row planted as a windscreen and want to transplant a couple from a ...
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Aubrey, TX
Rhizobium Source for Bluebonnets
Trying to find a source for rhizobium for bluebonnets.
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Krugerville, TX
Making a pollinator garden
Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
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Sanger, TX
Planting Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)
Is it too late to plant Gulf Muhly seed in North Texas (October)?
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Lake Kiowa, TX
Tree well for partially exposed roots from Lake Kiowa TX
Medium oak tree along lake has partially exposed roots. Can we make a barrier (what kind?) and fill the roots behind it with topsoil, compost, etc.? Tree and roots are above the waterline. Lake occ...
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Valley View, TX
North-central Texas shrubs for part-shade
I need a shrub that will be OK in shade (2-3 hrs a day max.), in fairly well-drained soil, will grow to around 8 ft. tall and 4-6 wide, for the region between Denton and Gainesville. If it flowers, al...
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Prosper, TX
Application of sprays to non-native Crape Myrtle from Prosper TX
Can applying a systemic insecticide/fungicide combo prevent or limit Crape Myrtle blooms? I have 5 large lavender Crapes that are not blooming or budding yet and this is the first time I have used a ...
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Denton, TX
Native vines for pergola in Denton, Texas
We ve built a pergola under our Post Oaks and Winged Elms. The soil is sandy, as you would expect with post oaks. Are there any native vines, hopefully with a pretty flower, that I might coax into g...
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Denton, TX
Post-bloom period care for Pink evening primrose
Hello, I live in Denton, TX. I introduced pink evening primrose as a ground cover to a xeriscaped section of my property a few years ago. I have pretty much left it alone and let it do its thing an...
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Denton, TX
Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
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Denton, TX
Small shrubs for flower bed in Denton, Texas
I have a small flowerbed that faces south on the front of my house. What small shrubs would be best in that situation?
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Denton, TX
Taxonomy question concerning the Family Commelinaceae
Hi I have a question. Many people refer to plants differently, I have always used the Genus and species and rarely the family name..it is very confusing .. when a professional uses a name that is a co...
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Denton, TX
Fragrant Texas wildflowers
Hello! I am researching native Texas wildflowers and I am looking specifically for flowers with a pleasing aroma. Is there anyone who has made a list that includes how the flowers smell? Do you kno...
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Denton, TX
Identification of a plant with winged stems in Texas
Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Denton Texas & our backyard is being taken over by a very woody type weed or bush. The most distinguishing characteristic is that long thin vertical ridges or fins...
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Denton, TX
How to Control Poison Ivy
We have lots of Poison Ivy on a site we are clearing it is adjacent to a pond and children are around this area all the time. We are creating hiking paths. I have a lot of experience but I do not wan...
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Denton, TX
Maple roots in lawn in Denton TX
I purchased a new home 4 years ago that came with a landscape package. There are 2 trees in the front yard that I think are red maple trees. I am now seeing their roots appear above the ground which...
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Denton, TX
Puppy-proof plants in Denton TX
I recently got a couple of puppies that stay outside in a fenced off area of the backyard. Of course, they love trying to dig under the fence and get out. I placed cement landscaping border stones alo...
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