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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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Tuesday - April 29, 2014

From: Mission, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Butterfly Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Growth rate of non-native Asclepias curassavica
Answered by: Barbara Medford


As a volunteer at the National Butterfly center, I wonder how long from starting the seeds until the plant reaches approximately 20 cm tall does it take a tropical milkweed (asclepias curassavica) to grow assuming 60 degree nights or above? Thank you


There are a couple of things we need to let you know. The first is that this member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team does not speak metric, and must blushingly concede that she has not the slightest idea how tall is 20 cm?

The second thing is that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are to be grown; in your case, Hidalgo County, in the very southern tip of Texas. Ascepias curassavica,Tropical Milkweed, is therefore not in our Native Plant Database but is native to South America, and there is some controversy about using it in feeder areas for the Monarch Butterfly, according to this article from the Texas Butterfly Ranch.


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