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?

Share

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

Friday - April 10, 2009

From: Cicero, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Getting Tradescantia (spiderwort) to stand up straight in Indiana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a way to keep Tradescantia plants on a thicker base so as not to fall over? Mine are spreading like wild fire, but most fall over and look like weeds.

ANSWER:

We found two members of the genus Tradescantia native to Indiana in our Native Plant Database: Tradescantia bracteata (longbract spiderwort) and Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket). That doesn't necessarily mean those are the species you have in your garden, they are just good examples to look at. We really couldn't find an answer to your question. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, they grow profusely, but I do notice they seem usually to be in a situation where there are rocks to lean against. We have a lot of rocks on the grounds of the Center! Both of the above species are mentioned as having "stout" stems or "upright" stems. About the only suggestion we can make is paying attention to their cultural requirements. They do not require much water, and they do like shade. Their flowers open in the morning and close as the day goes on, so perhaps they are drooping over in protest against too much sunlight. Once they have ceased blooming in the summer, they can be cut back severely, and other plants, perhaps annuals, can be interspersed to keep the area attractive. Since they are perennials, they will come back and, of course, spread. In some places, they are considered invasive, so you do need to be conscious of where they are going. 


Tradescantia bracteata

Tradescantia bracteata

Tradescantia ohiensis

Tradescantia ohiensis

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Planting times and sun for native plants from Austin
October 06, 2013 - When to plant Phacelia congesta seeds? Can Maximilian sunflowers tolerate partial shade?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a littoral zone in Fort Myers, Florida
June 05, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What native plants would you recommend for the littoral zone on a pond in Fort Myers Florida? Damon's Mom
view the full question and answer

Comment on poisonous sweet pea plant from Kalama WA
October 29, 2011 - No question, comment only. I am aware of the story of Christopher McCandless (Call of the Wild)and the belief that he was poisoned by ingesting part of the sweet pea plant; however I am curious what ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
May 18, 2008 - I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way...
view the full question and answer

Gaura dying from Townsville, Australia
September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center