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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

Sanger, TX
Planting Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)
Is it too late to plant Gulf Muhly seed in North Texas (October)?
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Krum, TX
Identification of red and black insects on Yucca
I have little red and black insects on my soft leaf yucca and I don't know what they are or how to get rid of them. They make the leaves rusty looking. Do you have any idea what they are or how I can...
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Krum, TX
Planting a Texas Persimmon in rocky soil in Krum TX
I have recently purchased a 10 gallon Texas Persimmon plant that I want to put as a highlight plant in my yard. According to the nursery, it has been in the pot for 2 years. I have been "blessed(or...
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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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Denton, TX
Where are the Gulf Fritillary butterflies?
I have a beautiful passiflora plant that more of a bush than a vine, and I expected to see more Gulf Fritillary butterflies than I have seen this season (I've seen only a few over the months). My qu...
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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
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
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
Wildflowers for floodplain near Denton, TX
Hello, I am a member of my HOA board and am researching the possibility of filling in our floodplains with wildflowers. Currently the floodplains are grass only and span a few acres. Our goal is to t...
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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
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
Mrs. Johnsons favorite flower
I recall the the Black-eyed Susan was Lady Bird Johnson's favorite flower, is that true? Did she have other favorites?
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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
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
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
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
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
Hanging flowering plants in part shade in Denton, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'd like to hang 4"-6" pots with flowering plants from north-facing eaves. That area gets an hour or so of late-morning/noon sun. Also, my apt. faces a large courtyard so...
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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
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
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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