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?


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

Wednesday - May 21, 2008

From: McVeytown, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hello, I am interested in making a garden, and I would like to use only or mostly native wildflowers in it. Do you have any good suggestions for wildflowers that I can transplant from places where they are apt to get destroyed?


Let's start at the very beginning with this How-To Article on Using Native Plants. Next on your reading list is A Guide to Native Plant Gardening.

Now, on to your idea for transplanting native wildflowers from places where they are apt to be destroyed. Since you're in Pennsylvania and we're in Texas, we have no idea where land is about to be developed, destroying native plants. Also, this is a sensitive subject; often developers will make arrangements to have rare or especially important plants removed as a gesture to conservation. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has done this, here in the Austin area. Some Master Gardeners, which are a part of county extension services, will seek to save threatened plants. No doubt there are local Native Plant Societies doing the same thing. The point is, these are all by pre-arrangement. The groups are invited onto the land, and special provisions are made for the plants. For you to go onto private property and remove plants, native or not, threatened or not, could constitute criminal trespass, and could get you in a whole lot of trouble. Especially if the plants are considered threatened or endangered, there is a protocol for their removal and care. Very rarely are the plants designated for personal gardens, and sometimes they will be returned to the site after the building is complete.

We would suggest you contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office for Mifflin County; the webpage has contact information. They may be working with Master Gardeners or local developers on just such a project. Check out the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society for possible projects; they also have plant sales. In the final analysis, we suggest you're a whole lot better off planning your garden for your own specific site and space, purchasing seeds and plants, and caring for them properly. Go to our Recommended Species section, and click on the state of Pennsylvania. That will give you a list of native plants of your area, and each plant has its own webpage with information on culture, bloom time, etc. For more specific lists, click on "Narrow Your Search", and you can specify state, habit, duration, sun exposure, and moisture of soil. Finally, go to Suppliers, and, on the line "Enter Search Location", type in the name of your town and state, and you will get a list of native plant and seed suppliers in your general area.


More Transplants Questions

Transplanting a redbud in Boerne TX
August 29, 2012 - Hi there, My question is when is it safe to transplant a native tree? I have a redbud tree come up in m flower bed I want to try to transplant it instead of cutting it out. It is very young - maybe 4-...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Texas Star hibiscus
July 31, 2008 - Why is my Texas star plant wilting and now is starting to turn yellow? I just bought it from a nursery and put it in a new pot.
view the full question and answer

Trimming prairie coneflower for lower height when blooming in Hampshire IL
August 16, 2009 - Can the prairie coneflower, Ratibida Columnifera, be cut by half or some amount before setting flower buds to force the plant to bloom at a shorter height? If not, when is the best time to dig and tra...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Vacccinum corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
June 28, 2007 - Blueberry plants - We planted Northland and Blue Crop, 2 of each. All 4 plants have some leaves that are turning brown. This starts at the tip of the leaf, eventually encompasses the entire leaf, a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Hackberry tree in San Antonio.
September 23, 2010 - Our old hackberry tree fell over last year. Now we have dozens of new ones popping up in the same area. We want to transplant a few to another area of the yard, but they aren't surviving. It appears ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center