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 - July 29, 2005

From: Santa FE, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Deadheading or trimming back of Asclepias spp
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have some butterfly weeds (flowers) and I have heard conflicting stories as to how to cut them back. Should they be deadheaded to elongate bloom time or does that prevent any seeds from replanting? Should they only be cut back in the fall every other year? 1/3 of the way back?? Thanks!

ANSWER:

You may deadhead your butterfly weeds (Asclepias spp.) if you wish your plants to produce more flowers.

Butterfly weeds make nice cut flowers. Sear the cut end of the flower stem with a flame or dip in hot water to stop the milky sap from running. Let the second or third flush of flowers produce seed pods if you would like them to.

You should cut your butterfly weeds back by 1/3 to 1/2 in early spring before new growth begins if desired to tidy up the plant and encourage new growth. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until after the spring Monarch butterfly migration has passed and prune then.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

What about the Bluebonnets at Muleshoe Bend Recreational Area in Spicewood, TX ?
April 27, 2015 - We had heard about vast field of bluebonnets out at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area - an LCRA park in Spicewood. We went out today and there are indeed vast fields . . . all where Lake Travis would be ...
view the full question and answer

Proliferation of Small Palafoxia in Dallas Co. TX
June 07, 2013 - A few years ago I noticed a new wildflower I hadn't seen before in the southwest Dallas County area. I found the name to be Small Palafoxia. It was growing along the edges of HWy 67 in Duncanville ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for cleared area by creek
October 10, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants. My front "yard" is about 2 1/2 sloping acres with a wet weather creek at the bottom. It has been recently cleared of cedar. The cedar is now shredded and acts as a cover to he...
view the full question and answer

How many leaflets does a Texas Bluebonnet have?
July 04, 2010 - How many leaves does a Texas Bluebonnet have? I have a co-worker who is making disparaging remarks about my bluebonnet plaque.
view the full question and answer

Fragrant native plant to plant on rock wall in New York
May 28, 2007 - HELLO THERE, I LIVE IN CENTRAL NY. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SUGGEST A PLANT FOR THIS ROCK WALL ON THE SIDE OF MY HOME. IT IS A NATURAL ROCK WALL, SO BEAUTIFUL!! THE ROCK IS FLAT, ACTUALLY THE AREA...
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