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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

Denton, TX
Native flowers from bulbs from Denton TX
I am slowly converting my landscaping to as much native regional plants as possible. Are there any flowers from bulbs that you could recommend?
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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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Denton, TX
germinating Gulf coast penstemon and purple coneflower
I'm interested in propagating gulf coast penstemon (penstemon tenuis) from seed. Do I have to mascerate the 'berries' to remove the pulp from the seed, and do I have to stratify the seed to get th...
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Denton, TX
Transplanting Turks Cap, when and how
Mr. Smarty Pants - We have an enormous healthy Turk's Cap - not the lily, but the one with red flowers(Malvaviscus arboreus v. drummondii) It has also produced a new plant nearby. Please tell us how...
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Denton, TX
Weed prevention in vegetable gardens
Mr.Smarty Plants - I know this isn't your area, but we have a vegetable garden that has been plagued by summertime weeds. Do you have a recommendation for a control plan we could implement during t...
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Denton, TX
Live oak leaves yellowing from Denton TX
In autumn of 2010 I planted 10 live oaks about 6 to 7 ft. tall. I have see that during the month of Dec. 2011 to Jan. 2012 they are showing some yellow leaves. What can I do to help them?
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Denton, TX
Are vines harmful to bricks and mortar?
I am really fond of native vines such as crossvine, coral honeysuckle, American wisteria and carolina jessamine. I love the look of vines on walls and I would like to add this to a landscape design. ...
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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
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
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
Why are there no monarch butterflies feeding on my milkweed
I brought a milkweed from LA that has orange and yellow flowers. I live in Denton, TX. I haven't seen any eggs from the monarchs yet. Do the monarchs live on different milkweed in TX? I looked up ...
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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
Problems with non-native impatiens in Denton, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, 4 weeks ago I planted a shady bed (2'x10') with impatiens for the third year in-a-row. Previously, the plants thrived & bloomed till November. Three weeks ago, something ...
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Denton, TX
Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a ...
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Denton, TX
Native plants in Denton Co. TX pollinated by bats or hummingbirds
I am looking for a list of Denton Co. TX native plants that are pollinated by bats? Do we have any? How about hummingbirds?
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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
Distance apart to plant oaks in Denton TX
How far apart should I plant Pin Oaks and Shumard Red Oaks in our yard? All around us are native oaks, but our backyard has none. I want to create a "forest" that looks like they are native, but n...
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Denton, TX
Perennial vine for full sun, Denton, TX
I would like to grow a perennial vine that would tolerate full sun during the day. A flowering or non-flowering is fine. I do NOT want anything that is poisonous, i.e. Carolina jasmine, since this w...
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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
Texas ash tree splitting in Denton TX
I have a Texas ash tree that's splitting in its center and need some info re cable tie or other techniques to fuse the crotch together. I have temporarily placed two bands of plastic cable ties just...
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Denton, TX
Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
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