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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

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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Sunday - March 15, 2009

From: Grand River, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Plants for planting in gourds
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I enjoy painting dried gourds. This spring I got the idea to paint a gourd and cut holes in the side and plant some small blooming flowers. I have seen "hen and chickens" growing out of holes in the sides of pots, I am wanting something small like that but something with blooms on them. Is there a flower like that? I would prefer a perennial and an indoor/outdoor would be nice. Is there anything out there like that? I live in Western Ky. I'm not sure what zone that is?

ANSWER:

Much as we hate to admit it, it looks like this is something we can't help you with. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is focused on the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but the area in which they are being grown. Very probably, the gourds you are thinking of are members of the Lageneria genus, perhaps Lageneria siceraria, native to Zimbabwe. We agree with you that some kind of succulent is likely the best choice for growing as you describe. We went to our Native Plant Database and found no succulents native to Kentucky. You can very easily go to a large nursery, and they usually have a wide selection of succulents, probably all non-native to Kentucky or North Amerca. Since we can't help you from our database, we found several websites that might give you some information: The Succulent Page, an Associated Content site on Decorating Gourds which includes information on making planters, and a plantzafrica site Lageneria siceraria. If, when you are shopping for succulents, you find one with a common or Latin name on the label, you might check that out by Googling either or both, which will help you with information on the care and culture of that plant.

 

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