En Español
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.

Support NPINHelp grow the Native Plant Information Network by giving to the Plant Database Fund or subcribing to Wildflower magazine.

Subscribe online now
Mr. Smarty Plants would give Wildflower magazine two thumbs up...if he had two thumbs.
Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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

Sunset Valley, TX
Variation in leaves for Vitis mustangensis
Hi, I am doing a sculpture of a mustang grape vine in limestone. In seeking a good leaf image I notice that there are both roundish shaped leaves and highly divided or "fingered" shapes on your sit...
view the full question and answer

Austin , Texas, TX
Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
view the full question and answer

West Lake Hills, TX
Live oaks dying in Austin, TX?
I had my live oak trees trimmed in October(it had been over 5 years) by a reputable Austin company. The tree canopies were not very thick to begin with, but throughout the winter, some trees have los...
view the full question and answer

West Lake Hills, TX
How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
view the full question and answer

West Lake Hills, TX
Native substitute for traditional Christmas tree
Could you give some recommendations for a substitute of the traditional Christmas tree used during the holiday season? The low light/humidity conditions in the home is a challenge under any circumsta...
view the full question and answer

Center, TX
Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Butterfly plants for Austin
Hummingbirds come to our Mexican honeysuckle early in the spring, and then come late in the summer when the Turk's caps bloom. We have rocky soil, and a fairly shady garden. What could we plant that ...
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Plants for making dyes for organic cotton
Looking to dye my own organic cotton for my new line of organic clothing and I want to grow the plants for making the dyes in my own garden. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Native shade-loving container plant for Austin
What is a good plant that works well in a container, is shade-loving and produces some blooms?
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Where can one learn about gardening with native plants
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Where can I go to learn more about gardening with native plants?
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting
I found a desert willow with great bloom color and I am trying to root a cutting. I have never tried to root a cutting but I have read that desert willow is easy to root. My first attempt was in a vas...
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Landscaping with native plants in Austin
I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Plant identification
Every spring I have pink evening primroses blooming near the curb where the soil is very poor - lots of clay, very dry. Along with the pink evening primroses, there is a vine that can spread about th...
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Tree and vine for shade and privacy
We recently added a deck in our backyard which faces west, we live in Circle C (southwest Austin). The afternoon sun is intense so we're looking to plant something along our fence line to provide sh...
view the full question and answer

Austin , TX
Excessive nitrogen inhibiting coreopsis blooms
I planted coreopsis in the summer last year and they bloomed profusely nonstop from June 2005 to April 2006. However, this past summer, continuing to present time, my coreopsis have not bloomed at a...
view the full question and answer

austin, TX
Need a source of sulfuric acid for scarifying bluebonnet seeds in Austin, TX.
I see that you recommend soaking blue bonnet seeds in concentrated h2so4 to facilitate germination. Where do you suggest I buy the sulfuric acid? I live here in Austin. Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Native Indian Rice Grass cultivation as food source
Hi! I'm a student at UT and I ran across a grass while doing some reseach, native to Utah and Arizona, called Indian Ricegrass. It was used as a famine plant among native communities, however, it w...
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Mechanism for Cenizo bush blooming before rain
Why does cenizo (aka barometer bush) bloom before it rains?
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Possible mildew on standing cypress
My mother-in-law took some standing cypress seeds from Texas to Virginia several years ago. They have always done very well, but this year they are growing very tall, but the bottom half of the stalk...
view the full question and answer

Austin, TX
Special requirements for Density buffalograss in Austin
Are there any special requirements for Density Buffalo beyond the requirements of other, more common, types of buffalo grass? Background: We live in NW Austin, and we recently installed density bu...
view the full question and answer

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center