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

Friday - March 14, 2008

From: Santa barbara, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning
Title: Branching on plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr SmartyPlants, I would like to cause my cerus peruvinesus (sp?) to branch low to the ground and another plant to branch higher up..what causes branching & how can I duplicate this?

ANSWER:

Not even Google could find the plant by the name you gave us, but after playing around a little bit, we discovered Cereus peruvianus, sometimes called the "night-blooming cereus." This is an upright cactus plant, originating in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the promotion and propagation of plants native to North America; therefore, this plant (if it's the plant you're talking about) is somewhat out of our area of expertise. However, we did find a couple of websites that might help you out. The first one is Cereus Peruvianus-The Least and Best Known Cactus. The other website is a page of images of Cereus peruvianus.

Your second question, on branching and how to duplicate it, I'm afraid we're not going to be much help there, either. Are you talking about a woody shrub or tree? Another cactus? Generally, speaking, plants branch where they wish to, they can't be trained to put out a branch where one is wanted. What you can do is trim off unwanted branches to expose more trunk, at least on a woody plant. Since we didn't give you the information you wanted, here are two suggestions: (1) If, after looking at the pictures of the Cereus peruvianus, you don't feel that is the plant you are talking about, perhaps you could send us a picture and see if we can identify it. There are instructions for sending a digital picture in the lower right hand corner of the "Ask Mr. Smarty Plants" page. (2) If you have a specific type of plant you want to try to change or control the branching on, you might let us know what that is, and we'll see if we can find some help for you on that issue.

 

More Pruning Questions

Pruning a non-native Hinoki cypress from Denver NC
July 08, 2011 - Hi! Our painters have asked that we trim the Golden Hinoki Cypress back from the house. The tree is about 20' tall, beautiful and healthy. Since it is July and therefore, HOT! I'm wondering how t...
view the full question and answer

Should I use wound paint when pruning my live oak tree?
February 04, 2010 - When trimming live oak branches, is it best to coat the wound on the tree? I have been doing this but have recently heard that it can actually be bad for the tree.
view the full question and answer

Trimming Texas mountain laurel in Austin
August 27, 2009 - Is there a specific time to trim established mountain laurels? Should I cut off the dried seed pods since they are weighing down the branches?
view the full question and answer

Pruning time for Lonicera sempervirens from Pflugerville TX
August 08, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, When does the Wildflower Center prune its Lonicera sempervirens?
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Escarpment Oak from Austin
May 18, 2014 - We have a 2-year-old quercus fusiformis in our front yard and have been advised by some people that we need to remove the bottom branches and trim the ends of the branches that are hanging far down. ...
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