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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

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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Questions From Near You

Sattler, TX
Starting desert willow from seeds
Is it better to sow or start desert willow seeds in pots? If sowing is effective, is fall or spring the best time to sow in the Canyon Lake area of Central Texas?
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Redrock, TX
Plant identification
Can't i.d a small aroid, arisaema(?) sp.; 5" tall. tuber 12" tall by 1" beginning 8" beneath the soil level. flowers are black spathes with white spots. leaves are alternate. common plant but d...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Care of non-native Buddha Belly bamboos
I have several budha belly bamboos. They froze down last winter. I have got them back to 5 ft. I need them around 8-10 for privacy. Any suggestions? Also how to I protect them this winter?
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Canyon Lake, TX
Possibility of growing oak-leaf hydrangea in Comal County, TX
In the last issue of the magazine, there was an item about the oak leaf hydrangea which stated the plant's habitat is east of the Mississippi River. Can it be grown in Comal County? Any special nee...
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Canyon Lake, TX
BEST plants for keeping water clean
We're in the process of building a small swimming pool that will utilize Texas native bog and marginal plants to clean the water for the pool. Do you know of some good resources (i.e. online, books, b...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Nativity of Myrospermum sousanum
I bought a Myrospermum sousanum (Arroyo Sweetwood) at the Antique Rose Emporium in San Antonio. I see where it is listed as a Texas native on several web sites, but I could not find a reference on the...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Transplanting birdwing passionflower in Canyon, TX
First, thank you for all your help! Second, I have two bird-wing passionflowers that are growing next to the house. I'd like to move them because this is the area where I want to put in some raise...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Fast growing shade tree for Canyon Lake, TX
What is the best, fastest growing shade tree to plant in a residential yard about 1/2 block from the Guadelupe River in Sattler, Texas?
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Canyon Lake, TX
Growing pecan and fruit trees near Canyon Lake, Texas
I just bought a property on the north side of Canyon Lake in the Hill Country of Texas. Most of the trees around are cedar, and a few live oak. I know I have seen beautiful Pecan trees as well as seve...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Sudden death of one side of Mountain Laurel from Canyon Lake TX
Hello! We live in Canyon Lake TX and have a Mountain Laurel that is in distress. It is planted in an irrigated flower bed and has been happily growing for 5 years. It is about 5' tall and has sever...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Privacy screen for Canyon Lake, TX
I need some help. I live near the Guadalupe River in Canyon Lake, TX and my backyard faces a busy street. I need a fast growing thick shrub for my backyard for privacy since I cannot afford a fence at...
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Canyon lake, TX
Butterfly/hummingbird garden plants for Hill Country, TX
What drought resistant plants would you recommend for a Hill Country butterfly/hummingbird garden that receives at least a half day of sun? It has afternoon exposure.
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Canyon Lake, TX
Mealy blue sage drooping from Canyon Lake TX
Mealy Blue Sage @ 4 ft Tall - Planted three Mealy Blue Sage last year and they topped out at 2 ft tall. This year they are 4 ft tall in early May, and many of the stems are growing near horizontal...
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Canyon Lake, TX
Seed collection from rain lilies
Hello, I have some rain lilies growing in our yard. I've collected some seed heads, but am not sure what steps to take now. They were all off of broken stems (the dogs are not as cautious as I am...
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Fischer , TX
Texas Madrone as endangered plant?
Is the Texas Madrone on the endangered list?
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Wimberley, TX
Failure to thrive of desert willow in Wimberley TX
I have a desert willow. It is always, whether I water it or leave it alone, yellow/ brown leaves, dark spots on the leaves, losing leaves. now it looks sad and not very healthy. Can you please tell m...
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Copperas Cove, TX
Information about moist stratification
I have some seeds of scarlet leatherflower I'd like to try and I read the instructions under 'Propagation' in your Native Plant Database that say "Moist stratify at 41 degrees".. What does "...
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Wimberley, TX
Cutting back Pampas grass.
When and how much should I cut back Pampas grass in the Hill Country of Texas.
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Wimberley, TX
Flaming sumacs in trouble in Wimberley TX
I planted three flaming sumacs last fall and all leafed out this spring. Then, early this month all the leaves turned brown on one and it appears to have died. Today I noticed that a second one is d...
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Wimberley, TX
Do prairie verbenas (Glandularia bipinnatifida) have toxic sap?
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Wimberley, TX and my 6 year old daughter picked wildflowers for her Mom over the weekend. I believe the species was Prairie Verbena but not 100% certain. Now, fo...
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Wimberley, TX
Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
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