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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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Wednesday - May 18, 2011

From: Mason, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native African violets from Mason OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have had 3 african violets for at least 4 weeks. I continue to water them and have moved their location. They continue to have wilted leaves. Are they done for or is there something I can do to get them healthy?


The African violet, botanical name Saintpaulia, is native to, well, Africa and is a tropicsl plant mostly grown as a house plant in this country. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. Just about all houseplants are non-native tropicals that are able to handle the inhospitable conditions involved in growing indoors.

Since we have no personal experience with African violets and they will not, of course, appear in our Native Plant database, we would like to provide you with some sources for information on the plants that will surely help you more than we could.

Purdue University Coopertive Extension Service - African Violet Care

University of Rhode Island Horticulture Program - Caring for African Violets

African Violet Society of America - Basic Care





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