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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

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...
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San Marcos, TX
Seeding an established buffalograss lawn to make it denser
We have 5400 sq ft of existing Buffalo grass and would like to know if spreading Buffalo grass SEED would help the existing get more full? I can't seem to find the seed here or the Austin area? And, ...
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San Marcos, TX
Hyptis alata information for San Marcos TX
We saw a plant called Hyptis olata at the WFC plant sale today and cannot find it in the NPIN list. THis is a new one to us. Can you tell us something about it? THanks.
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San Marcos, TX
Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider you...
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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...
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San Marcos, TX
How to solve a search problem on the Native Plant Database!
When I use the LBJ Wildflower Center's Plant Identification Guide, it ALWAYS comes up with no results. It also ALWAYS comes up with Family: Acanthaceae. Could this be why NO question EVERY produces A...
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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'...
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San Marcos, TX
Offer to send Bumelia to Kansas from Central Texas.
If you send my email to the person who wanted the Bumelia lanuginosa (synonym: Sideroxylon langinosum), I will dig some for him/her.
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San Marcos, TX
Deer Resistant Pond Plants
I am looking for deer resistant aquatic plants to use around a natural swimming pond in San Marcos, TX. The plants will be used to filter the water in a separate section of the pond. There will be a p...
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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...
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San Marcos, TX
Plant ID from San Marcos TX
My dogs love to eat the leaves of a certain little orange wildflower. It might be Wedelia or Texas creeping oxeye. Have you ever heard of this?
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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...
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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...
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San Marcos, TX
How to tell the difference between native and non-native thistles
It's thistle time already. There are many plants in the aster family with thistle in their common name. Are "real" thistles only those in the genus Cirsium, or are there others as well? We are tryi...
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San Marcos, TX
Enough sun from San Marcos TX
I would like to plant both Lantana urticoides and Salvia farinacea in area that only has morning to 1pm sun..Will this amount of sun be enough?
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San Marcos, TX
Non-native, invasive Paulownia for San Marcos TX
Can a Paulownia tree grow in San Marcos? If so were can I get one?
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San Marcos, TX
Propagation of Chandler's craglily from San Marcos TX
Can you please advise me on collecting and propagating seed from Chandlerís craglily -Echeandia chandleri. I have 2 plants that came from the wildflower center. They never seem to multiply, but they d...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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San Marcos, TX
Identification of purchased vine
Hi, I bought a hanging vine plant, and came with no id. The leaves are simple, alternate arrangement, entire margin (smooth edge margin). It has an ashy look, like the green purple sage. The flower ...
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