Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 11, 2014

From: Krugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Butterfly Gardens, Meadow Gardens, Planting, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Making a pollinator garden
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For example, the weeds will get as high as my shoulder but the mammoth sunflowers I tried to plant only got about a foot high. How can I turn this around?

ANSWER:

This could be a huge project, depending upon the size of your ditch.  I will refer you to a series of How To articles on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site. The first order of business is getting rid of the unwanted weeds.  A good start will be to mow them down before they go to seed.  Many of them will be annuals that will not return if no seeds are produced.  Then make use of the tips offered in the How To articles. You will want a mix of native grasses and broad-leafed wildflowers.  It would be best to plan to plant seeds in the fall.  The Butterfly Gardening article will suggest some plants to chose.  You should be able to find many of these plants at one of  your local gardening suppliers.

 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Plants for Daisy Girl Scout native plants project
December 13, 2013 - Hello, I am a daisy Girl Scout leader and we are working on one of our Journeys and Native Plants Patch Program which requires our group of 5-6 year old girls to plant and care for a mini-garden. ...
view the full question and answer

Orange eggs on milkweed plants
October 18, 2012 - Hello I have milk weed in my flower garden. Every year I find small orange 'eggs' on the leaves and stems of the plant. I don't think these are the monarch eggs, but not sure if they are other...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Bush Alternatives in New Egypt NJ
June 14, 2015 - I have a Non Native Butterfly Bush near my house. I heard that it could be invasive. What alternative plants could replace this bush as it is a butterfly magnet in late summer. Swallowtales and monarc...
view the full question and answer

Want to Amend Soil Without Harming Earthworms in Dallas Area
March 16, 2011 - I have a totally odd question. I live in the Dallas area in the blackland soil. I am removing sod from part of my back yard and will replant with nectar and host plants for butterflies. The soil is...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of non-native Asclepias curassavica
April 29, 2014 - 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 ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.