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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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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!

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Tuesday - March 17, 2009

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Growing non-native aloe in Seguin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would love to grow aloe plants; both because I like the look of them and for their medicinal properties. Here in Texas people grow them both indoors and out. For some reason, I have not had any luck with growing aloe plants. They always die on me. Please help!

ANSWER:

We know of one "aloe" plant native to Texas, Manfreda maculosa (spice lily), because we have been growing them in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center plant nursery and selling them at our semi-annual Plant Sales. Another is Manfreda virginica (false aloe). These are both actually referred to as "false" aloe; while they are succulents and similar to the more familiar Aloe vera, they are not closely related.

We suspect that you are referring to the Aloe vera, which is a native of Africa, usually grown in a pot and sometimes considered a medicinal plant. Because here at the Wildflower Center we are focused on the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, we do not have information in our Native Plant Database on the Aloe vera. We did, however, find a website from The Garden Helper, Aloe vera, that hopefully will be of some assistance.


Manfreda maculosa

Manfreda maculosa

Manfreda virginica

 

 

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