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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 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

Justin, TX
Problems with mature cottonwood in Justin TX
I have a very large, 90" circumference, approx 60' tall, cottonwood tree in my front yard that appears to be sick. The trunk splits at about the 4' level into 2 parts. at that split is a 10" wide...
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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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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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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
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
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
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
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
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
Cherry trees in the North Texas area
Will cherry trees grow well in the North Texas area?
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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
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
Plants to disguise plastic rainbarrels in dry shade
What plants would you recommend to disguise blue plastic rainbarrels in dry shade?
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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