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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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Sunday - December 16, 2007

From: Rockledge, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Dying cactus plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Two large cactus plants on the grounds of our condominium complex have begun to turn yellow and appear to be dying. A "staple" of our landscaping, this is the first year that they have developed this appearance. Over ten years old, they are between four and six feet tall, and we'd hate to lose them. Is this just a natural part of their aging process or, if they are dying, what do we need to do to save them?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is going to need some more information before he can really help you.  There are lots of different kinds of cactus and some people call plants that aren't really in the Family Cactaceae (Cactus Family), such as some of the yuccas and agave plants, cactus also.  So, if you happen know its botanical name, or even its common name, that would be helpful.  Better yet, if you could send us a picture we could get a better idea of what might be going on with your cactus.  To send us a photo, please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and read the instructions under "Plant Identification" in the lower right corner.
 

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