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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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Questions From Near You

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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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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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Fischer , TX
Texas Madrone as endangered plant?
Is the Texas Madrone on the endangered list?
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Spring Branch, TX
Smarty Plants on Virginia crownbeard
I recently moved to the Hill Country and notice some "weeds" that seemed to into explode into ice formations when the temperature first fell below freezing. Can you tell me the name of this plant an...
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Spring Branch, TX
Smarty Plants on mulch and organic material
I live near Canyon Lake, just north of San Antonio in a new subdivision. I call on you for advice, as I have attended several classes there and hope you can help. Several areas on our property and nei...
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Spring Branch, TX
Groundcovers for North Central Texas
I have a very large area that is in Palo Pinto County, Texas. We tried to plant grass but it never established. I'm looking for a ground cover that does well in shade (lots of oak tees) and is semi d...
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Spring Branch, TX
Viability of Desert Willow and Hong Kong Orchid Tree in Spring Branch, TX
We live in Spring Branch, Rt 281 north of San Antonio. We want to plant a Regal Desert Willow tree and a Hong Kong Orchid tree. Will the cold / freeze be a problem? Where locally can we purchase th...
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Spring Branch, TX
Looking for evergreen deer proof plants for full sun
Which plants would be DEER PROOF, will be with almost full sun and will not die completely during winter? besides some plastic ones =) It doesn't matter the size, flowers or not.
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Spring Branch, TX
Watering a Montezuma Cypress in Spring Branch, TX
Live near San Antonio, and have a Montesuma Cypress, 15 ft tall. Great soil. Planted in April, should I keep it moist??? The foliage is getting brown.
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Spring Branch, TX
Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants ...
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Spring Branch, TX
Lesions on Agave Leaves in Spring Branch, Texas
I have a giant Agave americana that was beautiful until recently. Several of the leaves have lesions, some of them quite drastic, on the last third of the leaf. What is causing this?
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