En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 20, 2007

From: Cleveland, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native indoor plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My cousin in Pa. asked me to see how to care for 2 plants in the winter. The first is a Voo Doo Lily and the second is a Bengal Tiger plant. If you would please help I would be able to pass it along.


Neither of these plants is native to North America, which is what we really care about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. However, when we can, we do try to help out with non-native house plants. Most indoor plants are non-native because of the need for less light, etc.

The Voodoo Lily, also known as Amorphophallus with a number of sub-species, originated mostly in the Far East, including China and North Vietnam. It would seem that the best thing about the voodoo lily is that it is dormant in winter, when it would need to be brought inside in Pennsylvania. When it blooms (in warm weather), it STINKS. This is apparently to attract flies, who act as pollinators to the plant. The plants are very striking and sometimes huge when they bloom, so perhaps that balances out the bad smell of the flowers.

As it happens, there are cannas native to North America, but they have been so extensively hybridized that it would be difficult to trace their origins. However, the Bengal Tiger Lily is a a subtropical. North of USDA Zone 7, it must be treated as an expensive annual or dug and wintered over indoors.



More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native tomato plant in Austin
August 30, 2010 - I have an upside-down tomato plant, started on July 4. For several weeks there have been 7 green tomatoes, with no further growth or ripening,despite daily watering. Am I doing something wrong?
view the full question and answer

Will a non-native smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, be harmful in Utah
May 08, 2009 - Can one plant a smoke tree in Utah without causing and harm to the environment? I'm worried that this plant may be a species that could cause a problem since I believe it is not a native plant.
view the full question and answer

Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
December 24, 2012 - I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ...
view the full question and answer

Removal and disposal of very invasive non-native water hyacinth
September 07, 2007 - 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...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Spicewood TX
March 20, 2013 - I am from a small community along the Colorado River a few miles East of Marble Falls. We are looking for a ground cover/grass to prevent erosion on on our beach front. We had planned to use Bermuda G...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center