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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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Thursday - June 11, 2009

From: Greensboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native mandevilla in Greensboro, NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought two potted mandevilla vines last year and read on a website for winter care to cut the vine back at least a foot from the soil. However this spring going into summer it has barely produced anything except for a few leaves. It appears to be healthy and I lightly fertilized both in early spring. They were beautiful last year growing on triangular vine posts, but I'm afraid by doing what the website said they won't bloom this year. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. According to this University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service website Mandevilla senderi originated in Brazil and is therefore out of our range of expertise. It is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11; Greensboro is in Zone 7a to 7b, and this tropical plant would not be hardy outside in your area. Possibly digging it up and potting it so it can be brought inside in the winter will permit it to survive.
 

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