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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

Kerr, TX
Information about a red-flowered Pavonia lasiopetala in central TX.
I have grown Pavonia for years and just let it re-seed where it wants (and remove if I don't want it where it falls). This year I created a new 6 inch raised bed amended with compost and some manure...
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Hunt, TX
Chilopsis linearis Bubba in Hunt TX
I purchased 3 desert willows (label: chilopsis linearis) to create an oasis area around a fountain which is in the center of my circle drive. But I need one more. Now I can only find the "chilopsis...
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Hunt, TX
Small green balls falling from oaks in Hunt TX
Our live oak trees have pin-sized black and green balls falling from them (there are so may that is sounds like rain!) The balls are not associated with or fall with the catkins. Thanks for your ass...
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Mountain Home, TX
Agave americana/Century Plant care and life cycle.
How often do century plants bloom? Do you have info on how to care for them?
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Ingram, TX
Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
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Ingram, TX
Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
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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
Seeds of Castilleja purpurea
The seed photo for Castilleja purpurea is incorrect; seeds are black and poppyseed size.
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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
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
Pruning a rough-leaf dogwood in spring
Is it OK to trim a rough leaf dogwood now? Should I spray after trimming? Thanks
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Kerrville, TX
What are the native plants in Kerrville, Texas?
What are the native plants in Kerrville, Texas?
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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
Kerrville Soil for Vegetables
We are moving to our vacation home in Kerrville, TX and plan on putting in a vegetable garden on the sunny north side of our house. I'm assuming that your answer to the person inquiring about "soil...
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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
Are Cuscuta spp. (dodders) in Cuscutaceae or Convolvulaceae?
USDA plant database has the species Cuscuta in the CUSCUTACEAE FAMILY; you have it in the CONVOLVULACEAE FAMILY. Which is correct? Thank you.
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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
Does Monarda citriodora, lemon beebalm, self-fertilize?
Does Monarda citriodora produce its seeds from cleistogamous flowers? Thank you
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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
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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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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