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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

Spring Branch, TX
Sun-scorched Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
I live in south Central Texas 30 miles north of San Antonio. I am looking for a good evergreen hedge plant that once established will not die if I forget to water it a few days and is deer resistant....
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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
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
Planting instructions for horsetail
Re: Equisetum hyemale L. Canuela, Horsetail, Scouring rush, Scouringrush horsetail I bought a 1-gal Equisetum hyemale for my seep/pond. In searching the web, I find conflicting planting instructions...
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Spring Branch, TX
Fragrance in fragrant plants.
Why are some flowering plants known for fragrance not fragrant or as fragrant? Is it a nutrition deficiency or just the plant?
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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
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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Spring Branch, TX
Timing for mowing wildflower meadow
Last spring (2012) we planted a wildflower/shortgrass meadow on a caliche slope surrounding the back of our house. We terraced with rocks and spread some topsoil thinly before sowing the seed. It di...
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Spring Branch, TX
Copper Canyon daisy leaves turning yellow in Spring Branch TX
My Copper Canyon daisies have grown well this year but the leaves are turning yellow. Any ideas?
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Spring Branch, TX
Should Bluebonnets Be Planted in Mulch in Spring Branch, TX
I would like to plant bluebonnet seeds in my flower bed. The bed has a layer of shredded cedar mulch. Do I need to remove the mulch where the seeds will be planted, or will the plants grow up through ...
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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
Identification of red-topped grass blooming in Comal County
I live in Comal County and right now (mid May) there is a beautiful, red topped grass growing along the side of country roads. It is maybe 1 foot tall, and waves in the breeze. Do you know what kind o...
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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
Moving "lily of the valley" from MD to TX. Is that OK?
My question pertains to lily of the valley. From your database, I learned that it is a native plant but only the following states were listed: GA , KY , NC , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV. I am moving from...
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Spring Branch, TX
Time to Plant Blue Grama Seeds in Spring Branch, Texas
We would like to plant Blue Grama grass seeds but due to the hot weather with no rain here in central Texas, can we wait until September or even October to plant grass seeds? Thank you
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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
Herbicide use in bluebonnet field in Blanco, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have the best of both worlds and the worst of both worlds. Iíve been throwing bluebonnet seeds for 6 years on our property near Blanco, and when it rains, as it has this year...
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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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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
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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