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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - November 03, 2004

From: Llano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of yellow columbine
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I purchased a yellow columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha and your website says it grows in moist upland soils, and yet it shows their habitat as Utah, Arizona, NM, and sw Texas. Tell me how it can be both ways! I have planted it in a partial shade area, but in a bed with native lantana and mexican salvia, and the whole idea is NOT to water frequently. What do I do now?

ANSWER:

Aquilegia chrysantha is a native of the Big Bend area of Texas. It does tend to grow near springs or streams there where there is a bit more moisture, (even in those dry states) but the annual rainfall in the mountains of Big Bend is only 15-20 inches a year--not exactly what you would call a damp climate. The rainfall near the Rio Grande River is only about 7 inches a year. Your columbines should do fine in a bed with lantana and salvia without frequent watering.
 

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