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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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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!

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Thursday - March 27, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Pruning of non-native oxblood lilies from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Oxblood Lilies flowered quite late last Fall. Their foliage is still very green. Can I cut it down now or do I have to wait until it goes brown?

ANSWER:

From the Masters of Horticulture, here is an article from a Central Texas Gardener on Oxblood Lilies.

 From that article:

"Oxbloods are native to South America.  An early German-Texan horticulturist named Peter Oberwetter is believed to be the first to import the oxbloods from Argentina.  Due to his efforts, the oxblood has been very popular in the areas of Texas originally settled by German settlers.  While they are gaining acceptance around the South and Central US, they have flourished in places like Brenham, La Grange, Independence, Round Top and Austin for the last 150 years."

From another source, we learned that this plant grows natively from Southern Brazil to Argentina. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the place where the plant is being grown; in your case, Travis Co., TX. It therefore is not in our Native Plant Database, which is our authority.

From Louis the Plant Geek, another article on Rhodophiala bifida (oxblood lily). Scroll down the page for a long list of care suggestions, including cutting back.

 

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