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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members 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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Smarty Plants Question Topics

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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Butterfly Plants for Chicago
September 13, 2014
I live near Chicago, IL and am interested in planting a butterfly garden. Not sure when to start, but I want all native plants that would attract butterflies. Can you please let me know which plants ...
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Are Castor Bean Leaves Toxic to Pets?
September 13, 2014
I understand that the beans of the castor plant on lethal if chewed on. Are the leaves that toxic? I would love to plant this plant and not let it flower, but I do have visiting grandchildren and dog...
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When to Collect Rudbeckia triloba Seed?
September 13, 2014
How soon after flowering may I cut Rudbeckia triloba flower heads to save seeds? Do cones need to be attached to the plant in or out of the ground to continue to mature?
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Fuzzy Citrus Fruit on Satsuma and Lemon Trees
September 13, 2014
A man asked you about fuzzy little small fruit-like balls that looked like tiny lemons. I have huge numbers of these on both my mature Satsuma and lemon tree this year. I get 100's of really great f...
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How to Care for a Yucca after Blooming
September 13, 2014
We just moved into our home and there was an existing yucca plant in the yard and it had bloomed. There was some kind of vine growing in and around it. We tried to clean out the vine but I noticed a l...
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Live Oak Suckers or ??? in Arlington, TX
September 12, 2014
Do I have live oak suckers or an invasive plant? We bought a house a few years ago in Arlington, TX with two beautiful old live oak trees, and mostly just bare sand-dirt under them. Under one t...
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Difference between invasive Chinese and Japanese wisterias and native wisteria
September 12, 2014
Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Is there any way I can tell for sure if my wisteria is native? I bought it at a place when it was in bloom that sold a lot of native plants. I Would like to know for sure...
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Aggressive vine with purple flowers in South Carolina
September 12, 2014
Found an aggressive climbing vine with purple flowers in out vegetable garden. This garden was cleaned and new dirt, mulch and manure was put in in the spring. It was raked out after the infusion of d...
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Update on controlling live oak suckers with newspapers, cardboard and mulch
September 12, 2014
Can we get an update on the march 2011 topic of live oak suckers? I am wondering if the newspaper/cardboard/mulch layers continued to take care of the problem. Thanks!
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Plants for hummingbirds and butterflies in Galveston County TX
September 09, 2014
I am looking for native plants for a butterfly and hummingbird garden. I plan on putting the hummingbird garden in part shade and would like some Fall blooming plants to attract them during migration....
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