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?

Share

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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Brown rings on grass under live oaks in Austin
June 13, 2013 - There are brown rings in the grass at the dripline on several Live Oak trees in our neighborhood. What causes this? The trees appear healthy.
view the full question and answer

Non-native cannas in Sugar Land, TX
September 24, 2009 - I just planted some beautiful canna lilies along my fenceline (about 8 inches off the property line and 2 ft between each plant). My neighbor complained that they were going to go wild and sprout up o...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of lantanas in San Antonio
July 22, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We have lantanas in our front yard. This summer the leaves have turned white and they die to a brown color all the while the leaves are "crispy". At the beginning of the season...
view the full question and answer

Planting time for non-natives in Irving TX
February 07, 2012 - Have dwarf nandinas and two lorapetalums that I want to transplant. Can I do it now February 6th 2012?
view the full question and answer

Pruning pink skullcap and rock daisy from Austin
February 06, 2013 - I have some pink skullcap and rock daisy and other plants in my yard that never entirely die back over the winter. Can you tell me what kind of pruning is appropriate? How far can/should I cut them ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center