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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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Saturday - November 21, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Identifying problem with non-native plumbagos in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Barbara Medford answered my question on plumbagos..we have the ones that grow crazy in TX (not sure which species, but w/ the bright blue/purple blooms..). I have pictures and wasn't sure where to send so you can see the way the ones are growing in one bed versus another. I've heard how you can hardly kill these plants, they are very hardy, etc. and the others are great. So I was just curious if maybe an animal, like a cat maybe, peeing on the bushes, if that would cause them to be this way? Thanks again, let me know and I can email the pics. Kristin


Cetainly you can send us some pictures. Go to the Mr. Smarty Plants Plant Identification page and you will get instructions to do so.

Now let's get back to your previous question and the answer from Mr. Smarty Plants. You will note that the three illustrations we provided in that answer are all of Plumbago scandens (doctorbush), which is the only plumbago native to Texas, and they are white. Just because something grows well in Texas does not necessarily mean it is native to Texas. If you will notice in that answer we gave you a link to a Floridata article on Plumbago auriculata, native to South Africa. If you read that article you will see the pictures of bright blue blooms, and those almost surely are the ones you have.

We have no way of knowing, even if we look at the pictures, if animal damage is causing the problem you are having. You might contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension office for Bexar County and see if they can give you some guidance.  


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