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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

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
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
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
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
Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?
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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
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...
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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
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
Is Talinum paniculatum native to Central Texas?
I just bought a plant in Austin called Talinum paniculatum, Jewels of Opar. We are adamant about growing only local natives in the yard so it will have to be a potted plant unless you can verif...
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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
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
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...
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San Marcos, TX
Source for records of Pleistocene flora of Central Texas
Part of your answer to a question from October 12, 2010 is "..moreover, the evidence goes even further back than the 1800s. Studies of Pleistocene deposits from Central Texas showed ancestral cedar p...
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San Marcos, TX
Pruning time of non-native oleander
When and how should I trim oleanders that turned brown after our first freeze?
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San Marcos, TX
Pruning a Wafer Ash to make it upright
How do I trim a Wafer Ash? It lays on the ground. Is that normal? Does it need to be upright?
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San Marcos, TX
Identification of a shrub in San Marcos, TX
On a walk in Austin's Barton Creek greenbelt, a Treefolks volunteer identified a shrub that I also have on my property in San Marcos as blue candalia. However I can't find a plant by that name via w...
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San Marcos, TX
Unidentified stalk, possibly manfreda, from San Marcos TX
I had a very weird stalk pop up in my yard in San Marcos TX this month (May 2014) It bloomed very quickly and appears to be a manfreda but there is no rosette, or leaves of any kind - just the thick o...
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San Marcos, TX
Control of ball moss in oak trees
I live in San Marcos, Texas and I have a two acre lot with lots of oak trees. Most of these trees have so much ballmoss attached to them that the leaves and branches are not visible anymore. Is ther...
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San Marcos, TX
Winter survival of non-native Mandevilla vine
Last summer I bought a dwarf mandavilla vine that blooms deep red and planted it in a pot and kept in on my east-facing porch, where its tendrils hung over the pot. I had to move it to shelter for the...
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San Marcos, TX
Toxicity of Yucca leaves San Marcos, TX
Can you tell me if Yucca constricta leaves are poisonous? I ran into one at night and the next morning had a hive-like, VERY itchy rash.
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