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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!

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Sunday - August 23, 2009

From: Raleigh, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Ruellia brittonia in Raleigh NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have discovered Mexican Petunias this year. I LOVE THEM! Beautiful plant. However, they are so tall and after a rain are leaning badly. Should I tie them back? Will they get stronger as they mature? I also have a low growing variety that I love. Can I divide it? I have a large, red clay hill that I have planted on behind my house. It would be beautiful to cover with the low growing variety.

ANSWER:

Ruellia brittonia, Mexican petunia, is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, and therefore out of our range of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown.  They also are known to have the capacity for becoming invasive. Since they are not in our Native Plant Database, here are two websites with more information: Floridata and Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

 

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