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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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Saturday - October 20, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plants repellant to snakes
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there anything a gardener can plant to keep snakes away, especially poisonous snakes? Are there plants that attract snakes (Our dog was bitten by a cottonmouth right near our back porch a couple of weeks ago. He's ok now). I looked online and couldn't find anything.

ANSWER:

First, I want to point out that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is centered on the care and propagation of plants native to North America. The snakes you'll see around Austin are most definitely native, but they're not plants. However, you did ask if we knew of plants that attract or repel snakes. Frankly, no. Snakes do just as well in really hostile deserts and lush tropical settings. They are well adapted to their surroundings.

We found this University of Mississippi website Repelling Snakes. They cite many good points about management of habitat, closing possible points of entry and eliminating debris or brush piles where the snakes can hide. It is a very complete study, and says that although there are a number of folklore "fixes" for snakes, nothing has been proved to be positively repellant to the little slithery creatures.

If you happen to come upon a magic potion, we'd like to hear about it, too!

 

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