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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

Comfort, TX
Century plant dying after bloom
My century plant is so tall that it is up to the top of the telephone pole top lines that carry our streets electric. I was wanting to know if you knew if I cut the stock off would it save the plant ...
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Comfort, TX
Native Plants Toxic to Dogs?
Are society garlic, Salvia greggii, black escarpment cherries, and wine cup wildflowers toxic to dogs?
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Comfort, TX
Insects attacking Gregg's Blue Mistflower from Comfort TX
I have a beautiful stand of Gregg's Blue Mist flower that have been attacked by an unknown insect. The new growth is curled and stunted and it is not flowering. I'm not alone..I've seen the Gregg'...
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Comfort, TX
Problems with Agave americana in Comfort TX
We have lost a huge agave americana and are not able to find out what to do for our others. The one we lost was rotted or eaten (beetles?) at the base and the whole thing just fell over. We have a l...
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Comfort, TX
Non-native Jerusalem Sage from Comfort TX
I live in Comfort, TX. I have 3 Jerusalem sage plants that bloom beautifully each year. However, just the past week one has started turning yellow and brown. The leaves look withered and ready to die....
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Comfort, TX
Plant screen for Comfort TX
My house sits on a hill between Fredericksburg and Comfort. Darn, if my neighbors didn't build so close to my property line that I can see into their cabin when the trees drop their leaves in the f...
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Kerrville, TX
Chlorosis in tropical milkweed and asclepias tuberosa
I planted both tropical milkweed and asclepias tuberosa. Both are chlorotic and the native milkweed has brown upturned leaves. Could it possibly be too much water? Or what?
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Kerrville, TX
Search for Texas barberry (Mahonia swaseyi) for sale
Do you know where I can purchase a Texas Barberry (Berberis swaseyi, Texas Mahonia) plant? I live in the Texas hill country. Thanks
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Kerrville, TX
Desert Willow and Orchid tree with no upper leaves from Kerrville TX
I have two 5 year old Desert Willows planted in my yard. This year only one has leaved out and blooming. The other is bare but the branches are not dead and it has new growth at the bottom. Do you kno...
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Kerrville, TX
Pathway material for Kerrville, TX
I have removed the St Augustine, expanded a perennial bed of mostly natives and created a pathway along the new bed. Can you recommend a plant to use as a pathway? It should require low water, be hea...
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Kerrville, TX
Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?
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Kerrville, TX
How to eliminate roadside thistles
When we drive along the highway we see lots of wildflowers and no thistles in the median. How does the Highway Department keep the thistles out? Here in Kerrville, we are overwhelmed by thistles thi...
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Kerrville, TX
complete list of Central Texas edible plants
Hello! I have been searching for a complete list of Texas Hill Country Native Edibles (for humans) without much luck. Do you know of a good source? Thanks so much for your hard work! Steph
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Kerrville, TX
Transplant rootbound tree now from Kerrville TX
I purchased a Blanco Crabapple tree. Should I plant it now or wait until Fall? (It is currently rootbound.) Second question: Our Mountain Laurel has a dead trunk and one trunk has already died. I c...
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Kerrville, TX
Native alternatives for Chinest pistache
We live just outside Kerrville on a lot with shallow soil over rock. We have built a raised bed for a shade tree and were considering a Chinese Pistache. However, I have since heard that they don't...
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kerrville, TX
Seed Library in Hill Country, Texas?
Hello, I was wondering if there is a seed bank or library here in the Texas Hill Country?
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Kerrville, TX
Will Bermuda grass survive a drought-induced dormancy?
If I stop watering a Bermuda grass lawn and let it go dormant, will it green up again when it rains again?
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Kerrville, TX
Evergreen plant with berries for wildlife
We live in central Texas and I am attempting to plant for wildlife. Could you suggest an evergreen, approximately 3-4 feet tall, that would have berries for the birds in the Fall and winter? The pla...
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Kerrville, TX
When and how to mow native grass in Texas
We live on a ranch near Kerrville. The grass is sparse KR, purple three-awn and some Texas wintergrass. How and when is the best way and time to mow this native grass?
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Kerrville, TX
Need help with pruning my Anacacho Orchid tree.
We have an Anacacho Orchid Tree which has done so well in its location that we will need to prune it back. Please advise how much we can prune it and what time of year to do so. Thank you
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Kerrville, TX
Are there plants that are resistant to axis deer?
Greetings! I live about 10 miles south of Kerrville, Texas, toward Medina. I wish to begin planting more natives on a plot we have recently purchased. Some plants will go inside a fence that deer...
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