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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 - May 01, 2007

From: Berkeley, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Cat deterents
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I was wondering if there is such a plant that will deter cats from going in your gardens. I have a problem with them using my garden as a litter box, and had heard that there was a plant that they do not like and will not go near anything if that plant is in it. Any information would be greatly appreciated.


Animal Care Services from the city of Berkeley, California has a list of suggestions for keeping cats out flower beds and yards. One of their suggestions includes using a European herb, common rue (Ruta graveolens). Another European plant that has been claimed to repel cats, dogs and even foxes is Coleus canina. Since neither of these plants is native to North America, Mr. Smarty Plants would urge you to try the other remedies suggested by the Animal Care Services of Berkeley before you think of planting these non-native plants. If you do decide to plant them, we suggest that you do so in pots rather than in the ground to discourage them from spreading into unwanted areas and becoming invasive. Care should be taken also to remove any seed heads before they ripen and drop their seeds.



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