Rent Shop Volunteer Join
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

Martindale, TX
Identification of invasive plant
I have found an invasive plant species in Martindale, Texas that I would like to identify for family members. It is taking over their pasture and is difficult to eliminate. It has not bloomed yet but...
view the full question and answer

Martindale, TX
Replanting yaupon in Blanco TX
How do I replant Yaupon in its native area Blanco TX?
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Fast-growing evergreen shrub/tree as a screening fence
Our commercially-zoned property is adjacent to a residential area. The city planning and zoning board has said okay to a vegetation boundary instead of a fence for blocking headlights. The requireme...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Wildflowers for decorating for a wedding from San Marcos TX
I am in the early stages of planning my wedding for next year. I would like to decorate with wildflowers in mason jars. I need to set a date! What is the peak season for wildflowers blooming in centra...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Grass for shady area
I need to find a grass that can grow in a shady area, with some sun. Drought resistant and preferably native to the area. Would like to find a sod if possible. I know it's not a great time to plant n...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Sources of native grasses and forbs seeds for Hidalgo and Maverick Cos.
I work for TPWD and am working with some irrigation districts in South Texas, trying to get them to plant native grasses and forbs in their ROWs rather than exotic grasses recommended by TxDOT. Can y...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
What is eating Eve's Necklace in San Marcos TX
A small Styphnolobium affine in my yard is repeatedly being defoliated by something. It courageously leafs out again each time, even in the drought. There is a larger tree nearby that remains untouc...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Common name of non-native Senna corymbosa (Argentine senna)
I just had a plant identified as Senna corymbosa. Can you tell me whether it's a Texas native and what its common name is? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Not deer eating the Eve's necklace in San Marcos TX
Dear Mr SP, Re: the Eve's necklace being eaten. I'm so sorry that I didn't tell you in my original question which you were kind enough to answer with the speed of lightening, but I am on the East...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
How to tell the difference between native and European thistles
How can I tell the difference between invasive (European) thistles and thistles that are native to Texas? And what is the best way to eradicate the invasive varieties?
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
What are the grey-green plants on oak trees in San Marcos, TX?
The oak trees in the neighborhood in San Marcos, TX, are covered with clumps, or balls, of gray/green fluffy-looking plants. they remind me of bromeliads. You can pull and knock them off; after wind ...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Native evergreen for shade
Hi, I am looking for a plant that is evergreen (or semi evergreen), native to central Texas, and shade tolerant. This is for a Wildscape area in San Marcos. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Destroying seeds of Chinaberry tree
I have a "chinaberry" tree in my yard, and while I understand that it is an invasive plant to Texas, I was hoping to save the large mature tree. As an effort to be more responsible I have been coll...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Sooty mold on Sophora secundiflora in San Marcos, TX.
Dear Mr. SP, We have a Sophora secundiflora that is suffering with very black mold or fungus on most of its leaves. Last year, I washed it leaf-by-leaf with soapy water but it's getting too big t...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Hedge for a shady spot
In the Statesman you recently provided good suggestions about a privacy screen. I need a hedge that will grow under a huge old oak tree. Will wax myrtle or red cedar work for us? I have yaupon and m...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Dying trees in San Marcos, Texas
I live on 11 acres in San Marcos and cannot water at all during this drought. All of my oaks and mountain laurels are turning brown. Does this mean they are all dying? Will they come back in the sp...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Transplanting Tecoma stans in Texas
I have a pair of Tecoma stans planted too near the house. They're in shade most of the day. The branches that can reach a little sun are blooming nicely. Would they survive being transplanted fart...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Leaves of Chile pequin consumed overnight from San Marcus TX
Something ate all the leaves of my Chile petin overnight. There is a ton of frass under the plants but no sign of a critter to be found. These plants have been in the same area for years and this is t...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Identification of plant, possibly Justicia pilosella, for groundcover
I'm newly relocated to Texas and find I have a yard with three major types of green growing. Close to the house (and mostly shaded) is St. Augustine. Furthest out front, (unshaded) is the Bermudagra...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Watering a vegetable garden in San Marcos TX
Can you give me a general idea how long to run my drip irrigation on my raised vegetable garden? Currently I use it twice daily for one hour. The soil feels slightly moist but not very damp. Should...
view the full question and answer

San Marcos, TX
Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
view the full question and answer