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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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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 Antonio, TX
Looking for a supplier of Limoncillo.
Hello, I'm looking for a plant called limoncillo. Do you know of a seller where this can be purchased. Thanks.
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san antonio, TX
Looking for a supplier of Commelina erecta.
I'm looking for a nursery that sells Commelina erecta?
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San Antonio, TX
Transplanting a grapevine in San Antonio
I planted a small grapevine that is growing well. I want to move it, (only tiny green grapes now, should be merlot) and wondering if I can do it now, mid May, or do I have to wait until fall? Not real...
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San Antonio, TX
What are the best deep shade plants for San Antonio?
What are the best deep shade plants for San Antonio?
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san Antonio, TX
Stressed Ashe juniper is dropping needles
We have a large Ashe juniper tree in our backyard, at least 20 ft tall. This past winter/spring, several limbs have died and it's dropped a ton of leaves (clumps of "needles" really). Is it slowly ...
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San Antonio, TX
Further information on Melochia tomentosa in San Antonio
Information in your database is limited for Melochia tomentosa. I would appreciate any further information you can provide such as requirements for sunlight, soils, water,etc.
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San Antonio, TX
Plant Identification
We have a new vine growing on our fence. It eventually gets red balls (about 1" in dia) that are filled with small white seeds. Before the balls turn red, they are covered with a fine, thin fern (f...
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San Antonio, TX
Non-native lavender for Texas in San Antonio
I am looking for a lavender (English?) that will tolerate Tx summers, is evergreen, will tolerate some shade. I want to border a sidewalk with it. All help appreciated.
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San Antonio, TX
Trimming dead blooms from turkscap in San Antonio
Great answer to the Turk's Plant question. But, I can't seem to find an answer to mine. I've had Turk's plants for years and cut them back as you suggest, but have always been confused about wha...
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San Antonio, TX
Planting distance for non-native crepe myrtles in San Antonio
I just purchased 7 katawba crepe myrtles and would like to know how far apart I need to space them. I am placing down on the right side of my front yard. They are in 5 gallon containers and about 5 - ...
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SAN ANTONIO, TX
Why are my Spanish Oaks dropping branches that appear to be alive?
We have two large Spanish Oaks that we planted ourselves. They both have begun to loose large branches that aren't dead. These branches just break off and fall. There is usually a wind, but not to th...
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San Antonio, TX
Effect of heavy rains on Lindheimer Muhly
It is April 2015, in San Antonio we've had very heavy rains recently. My Lindheimer muhly, which was looking beautiful, has now turned brown all over. Is this normal or is this a problem?
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San Antonio, TX
Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
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San Antonio, TX
Problems with red tip photinia in San Antonio
I have a red tip photinia that's about 20 years old and about 20 feet high--it is big! I noticed last summer the highest leaves looked droopy all the time even with deep watering and now that portion...
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San Antonio, TX
Native Fruits for Texas Hill Country
Can you recommend a species of blackberry for San Antonio or any other fruit that will be compatible in my garden? (mostly Hill Country Native, thanks to Ladybird). The local store has raspberries, bu...
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SAN ANTONIO, TX
Source for non-native Bauhinia Blakeana
I BOUGHT WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A HONG KONG ORCHID TREE ALMOST 2 YEARS AGO IN SAN ANTONIO, TX,.BUT IT TURNED OUT TO BE A WHITE ORCHID TREE.I AM SEEKING A NURSERY IN THE AREA THAT MAY HAVE SOME IN STOCK.TH...
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San Antonio, TX
Reply on Carolina Jasmine from San Antonio
Thank you for your prompt reply to my question from San Antonio about removal of Carolina Jasmine. Just one note. In the "rate this answer" section my cursor dropped. I meant to give you four stars....
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San Antonio, TX
Deer resistant vegetables
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Are there any vegetables that are deer resistant? Squash, Watermelon, Corn, Chilies?
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San Antonio, TX
Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
Looking to replace Red Tips with major leaf spot infections. Need about third replaced. What suggestions would you have to replace these privacy hedge row type plants? Need a plant that will grow at...
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San Antonio, TX
What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything a...
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San antonio, TX
Why are my Junipers turning brown in San Antonio?
My Texas mountain cedars (junipers, I know) are turning brown, limb by limb. What is the problem and how do I save what looks like a dying tree.
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