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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

Devine, TX
Forestiera pubescens blooming in July
I have a lot of what appears to be Forestiera pubescens. They are covered with the dark blue/black berries and flowers. Apparently they are blooming again in the middle of July. I live about 35 mile...
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Castroville, TX
Native grass lawn for San Antonio
Dear Mr Smartyplants, I live outside of San Antonio and my question is in regards to putting in a native grass lawn. What type of soil should I put down? I've sprayed herbicide and was planning on ...
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Castroville, TX
When is it safe to mow wildflowers in Castroville, TX?
Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My yard in Castroville, TX sprouted many wildflowers early in April. By now the Blue Bonnets are seeded and gone. However, I still have a lot of Mexican Blankets. My husba...
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Hondo, TX
How common is white blooming Mountain Laurel
Is white blooming Mountain Laurel common?
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Rio Medina, TX
Forum for reporting rare plants
Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I was wondering if there is a forum for Texans to submit sightings of native plants they find? I live in Medina County and 2 years ago had a rare native plant growing in my yard ...
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Rio Medina, TX
Managing non-native invasive creeping yellow cress in Rio Medina TX
Due to my lawn mower dying and waiting for the shop to fix it my yard got a bit overgrown. I was walking around the yard looking at the blooming wildflowers and have discovered that one of them is Ror...
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Charlotte, TX
Trees for clay soil from Charlotte TX
We have an area in our yard that even Esperanzas won't grow. It is near another that does great. Six Esperanzas are planted in a north/south row about with 10' between plants, the southern most plan...
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Jourdanton, TX
Recently planted Monterey Oaks doing poorly in Jourdanton, TX.
We planted 2 nice size Monterrey oak trees in April .they were doing good with new growth on them. But now I have been noticing the leaves are turning brown around the edges. We water about once a wee...
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Pleasanton, TX
Getting blueberries to grow in Atascosa County, Texas
I'm trying to get blueberries started in my garden. I mulch constantly and have tons of success with almost every thing. But last year my blueberries were new plants and after harvesting a few berrie...
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Pleasanton, TX
Growing Green milkweed vine from seed
I was given some seed for the pearl milkweed vine which I intend to plant, but I can find no information on whether to stratify or scarify them or just plant them. I know some milkweeds require strati...
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Pleasanton, TX
Sycamore leaf snowbell from Pleasanton TX
How do you care for a sycamore leaf snowbell. Does it like sun or part shade? How much water? How often and what should it be fed. How fast or slowly does it grow? Anything you can tell me would be ap...
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Pleasanton, TX
Shade Tolerant Groundcover for Texas
I live in Atascosa county in Pleasanton Texas, I have an abundance of Live Oak and Ash trees shading my property and need a groundcover for my backyard which is nothing but sand and where I have dogs ...
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Pleasanton, TX
Germinating Hibiscus martianus, Heartleaf hibiscus
Is there some secret to getting Heart Leaf Hibiscus to germinate from seed? I have tried several times, but have had no luck getting them to germinate.
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San Antonio, TX
Non-native Japanese maple in San Antonio
I want to plant a Shaina Japanese maple in San Antonio, how do I plant it? I want to plant it near the house near the front door. The tree will be blocked by the house so it does not get too much af...
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San Antonio, TX
Propagation of Crossvine from San Antonio
I have a new Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) that has a single seedpod so far. What is the best way to plant it for the best chances for success? It is still green and a very hot August. Do I plant ...
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San Antonio, TX
Leaves dropping on native Texas Mountain Laurel in San Antonio
Please help. We have a beautiful TX Mountain Laurel in our front yard. This year the leaves are dropping like snow in the north. What do you think is wrong with our tree?
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San Antonio, TX
Evergreen ground cover for San Antonio
Is there a short, evergreen, drought tolerant ground cover which will tolerate light traffic that can be used instead of grass? San Antonio, Texas
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San Antonio, TX
Failure to bloom of Salvia greggii from San Antonio
We bought Salvia greggii at the Wildflower Center Plant Sale three years ago and planted them in a well drained area. We cut them back early in the year as recommended at Go Native U classes. ...
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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
Standing cypress turning brown in San Antonio
Last year I bought and planted a standing cypress. This year several plants came up. The tallest one was about 1 foot tall. After blooming the plant began to turn brown and die. My question: Is t...
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San Antonio, TX
Curing plant rash
I went walking in the woods a few weeks ago, and my leg swiped some kind of cactus or something. It scratched me up and I had to remove little white spines with tweezers. I developed an intensely itch...
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