En Español

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?


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
4 ratings

Saturday - March 24, 2007

From: Orlando, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Soils
Title: Care of Ixora by lowering soil pH
Answered by: Damon Waitt


I have a bunch of Ixoras that the leaves are turning brown, before I pull them out, is there any kind of treatment to save them? I have used insecticidal soap several times but there has been no improvement. Thanks.


Your problem may not be insects. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, Ixora are acid loving plants requiring organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or composted manure to lower soil pH. Alkaline soils can result in poor health and poor foliage. To learn more, read about Ixora care on the IFAS Extension website.


More Soils Questions

Trees for clay soil from Charlotte TX
August 25, 2013 - We have an area in our yard that even Esperanzas won't grow. It is near another that does great. Six Esperanzas are planted in a north/south row about with 10' between plants, the southern most plan...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on mulch and organic material
July 20, 2005 - I live near Canyon Lake, just north of San Antonio in a new subdivision. I call on you for advice, as I have attended several classes there and hope you can help. Several areas on our property and nei...
view the full question and answer

Difference between soil moisture and water use from Austin
February 20, 2012 - In the native plant data base "growing conditions" can you explain the difference between water use and soil moisture?
view the full question and answer

Need help growing plants in red dirt in Mount Pleasant, NC.
September 17, 2011 - I live in N.C. and I have had the hardest time getting plants to grow;I have red dirt at my house. Can you suggest a few colorful plants that would do real well in red dirt? Thank You So Very Much!!!!...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Avalon TX
January 23, 2013 - I just bought my first and last home in Avalon Texas. I am looking forward to starting my garden. I am interested in all year around flowers. however I am in the country, when it rains, my yard becom...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center