Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Can lantana be grown in British Columbia from Vernon BC
October 20, 2012 - Can I grow lantana in Vernon B.C. Canada?
view the full question and answer

Advice about lavender (Lavandula sp.)
June 03, 2008 - I recently visited a Lavender Farm just outside Gainseville Texas. I was hooked. However, when I started reading about growing Lavender I found that you should have well drained alkaline soil. Since...
view the full question and answer

Help with non-native plants in California
January 14, 2014 - I am growing some beads of pearl in my front yard in front of a pepper tree that has been around for over 150 years. My question is what can I do to get my beads of pearl to grow without cutting down ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive Rapistrum rugosum
April 02, 2008 - What is the name of the alien, spindly, yellow mustard that we see blooming around Austin now ? Is it Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) ?
view the full question and answer

Non-native bamboo for a privacy fence in Smithville, TX
February 16, 2010 - I am considering planting bamboo along my privacy fence inside my back yard. I like the informality of it and durability. Is it safe for children and pets?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.