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
2 ratings

Friday - March 20, 2009

From: Henderson, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Replacing grass with xeric plants in Nevada
Answered by: Nina Hawkins


I am looking to xeriscape my front yard - remove all grass! I am thinking 3-4 larger plants: bird of paradise (mesquite??), aloe, and ..?? Also, possibly a Chilean mesquite. Do you have suggestions on plants that would be appropriate/water conserving? I've seen pictures that I like, but it's tough to find plants and their Latin names on the internet, as well as cost estimates for consumers of these plants.


Congratulations on removing your lawn!  You are sure to save a lot of water - a very precious resource in your desert climate.  Below is a list of trees and shrubs that are native to Clark County, Nevada and should therefore be very well adapted to your conditions.  You'll notice that one of them is Honey Mesquite, which is mistakenly referred to by some as Chilean Mesquite, but is native to the United States.  Since Aloe is native to Africa and not to North America, Mr. Smarty Plants cannot recommend it.  Other resources you may find useful are the Recommended Species page for Nevada and our Suppliers page where you can find information about purveyors of native plants near you.  Good luck with your front yard transformation!


Quercus gambelii

Amelanchier utahensis

Juniperus scopulorum

Pinus ponderosa

Prosopis glandulosa

Rhus glabra

Mahonia repens

Fallugia paradoxa

Purshia tridentata


Yucca brevifolia

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Sources of cut native wildflowers
March 06, 2007 - I am preparing for my garden club's annual flower show and I have been assigned Southern Graces in San Antonio. Is there a source for cut bluebonnets or indian paintbrushes? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Karoo rose
June 15, 2007 - Where would the Adenium obesum/desert rose/Karoo rose pictured in the Austin American-Statesman's Gardening section on 06/09/07 be available for purchase in or near the Taylor, Texas (76574) area?
view the full question and answer

Replacing firs with smaller plants
October 22, 2009 - I want to pull out old fir bushes and plant smaller plants in their place. What could I buy that would take little care in my area?
view the full question and answer

Help, I know nothing!
June 12, 2007 - Where can I find someone who can give me advice on my flowers, plants, trees and shrubs? I bought a house with a lot of flower beds containing many different varieties of greenery and don't know...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native and exotic plants in New Oxford PA
October 24, 2010 - Is there a palm tree that would grow in New Oxford PA? Also do you know where I could find a place to buy Exotic and Unusual Plant Seeds from around the World. I would like one that has a good reputa...
view the full question and answer

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