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?


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

Tuesday - August 10, 2010

From: Merritt Island, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Coconut palms and Christmas palms in Merritt Island, FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Last winter the coconut and Christmas Palms all suffered. I have coconuts to plant, but can't get them to put forth a sprout, and eventually grow into a tree. I have put some in the ground half-way. Perhaps it takes many many months to show growth, perhaps years? Thank you for yur time and knowledge.


My, you are busy today. However, once again you got a wrong number. Neither the Cocos nucifera, Coconut Palm nor the Veitchia merrillii, Christmas Palm are native to North America. The Coconut Palm is native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific. The Christmas Palm is native to the Phillipines. 

From the University of Florida IFAS Extension, this article on The Coconut Palm will give you more information on that plant.  

This article from the USDA Forest Service on Christmas Palm,  Veitchia merrillii, says, among other things:

"Unfortunately, the palm is very susceptible to lethal yellowing disease and probably should not be planted."

You will find that if you Google on the scientific names instead of the common names, you will get more results. 





More Non-Natives Questions

Planting conditions for non-native Oriental poppy in Colorado
May 14, 2009 - I live in Broomfield, CO. Is this a good time to plant oriental poppies, what is the best sun exposure and how should I prepare the soil?
view the full question and answer

Plant for a salt water pool in Australia
September 27, 2011 - What plant is a perfect plant for small areas around a salt water pool?
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
December 09, 2012 - I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave an...
view the full question and answer

Will the non-native tamarind tree survive in Austin?
October 11, 2010 - We live in the Texas Hill Country and we were given a Tamarind Tree as a gift (which the givers thought was a Pride of Barbados). Is it advisable to plant this in the ground, since it is sensitive to...
view the full question and answer

Are Verbena Annuals Deer Resistant?
March 25, 2015 - Are Verbena Estrella Pink Star annuals deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center