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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 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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Friday - September 07, 2007

From: Madera, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Removal and disposal of very invasive non-native water hyacinth
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was given some Eichhornia crassipes, don't know how to care for them. Do you put them in some potting soil then put the pot in water? When do they bloom? Can they stay in the water during winter in western California? What kind of plant food do they take? Hope you can help me.

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, one of the reasons we are focused on use of native plants only is to prevent the use and spread of non-native invasives. Eichhornia crassipes, water hyacinth, is one of the worst of the non-native invasives, and has even been referred to as the "one of the worst weeds in the world". Please read the information at the University of Florida link above to get more information about this native of the Amazon Basin of South America. We urge you not only to not plant this species, but to discard it in a way that will ensure its not entering any body of water. You surely don't want to be the bearer of trouble for more waterways in California, where floating mats of this invasive are already a matter of concern.
 

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