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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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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.

 
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Thursday - June 09, 2005

From: Schenectady, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflowers that will grow in sandy soil in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. S. Pants, We live near Albany, NY in what was once a pine forest. The soil is very, very sandy. I've had some success with wildflowers but I have to use some topsoil and humus mixture to get any decent results. Are there any wildflower seeds that will grow in sandy soil?

ANSWER:

Here is a list of plants that will grow in sandy soil, are native to New York and are commercially available. You will need to check the other growing conditions, e.g., amount of sunlight and moisture to be assured of success in growing these. On the main page for each plant, be sure to select "Growing Conditions" at the top of the page to find out more about the plant.

Bitterroot (Apocynum androsaemifolium)
Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Scarlet Indian-paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea)
Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Castilleja coccinea)
Lance-leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Golden-wave (Coreopsis tinctoria)
Jimsonweed (Datura wrightii)
Shootingstar (Dodecatheon meadia)
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra)
Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata)
Common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Downy phlox (Phlox pilosa)
Unicorn plant (Proboscidea louisianica)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata)
Sweet-fern (Comptonia peregrina)

To find a list of nurseries and seed companies in your area that might carry the seeds or plants, visit the National Suppliers Directory.

By the way, the name is Smarty Plants!
 

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