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

Sunday - May 28, 2006

From: Omaha, NE
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of Holly the dog. I know nothing about it--whether anything would be good in the Austin climate, what is a pretty variety, etc, etc,. Any ideas? Thanks so much!


What a lovely way to honor your brother's dog! There are two member of the Family Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family) that do very well in Austin. They are Deciduous Holly or Possum Haw and Yaupon Holly. Both produce bright red berries that birds and small mammals like to eat and the Yaupon Holly is evergreen. Either of these should be easy to find at a local nursery that specializes in native plants. You can find the names of local native plant nurseries by searching in our National Suppliers Directory.


More Trees Questions

Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
October 17, 2013 - I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.
view the full question and answer

I need a tall tree with kind roots for a narrow space
March 11, 2009 - We have a space in the yard where a building is within 3 to 6 feet of where we would like a tall tree. What tree could achieve two stories in height, while not messing with the foundation of the bu...
view the full question and answer

Is it normal for the bark to fall off an oak tree in Austin, TX
May 02, 2013 - Is it normal for live oak bark to fall off when touched? I am afraid to get near them?
view the full question and answer

Cherry laurels next to retaining wall in Austin
September 18, 2010 - My neigbors have 2 cherry laurel trees in their back yard planted within 4 feet of my retaining wall and fence. I am worried the root system will damage my retaining wall. The branches are already pus...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native peach in Austin, TX.
June 18, 2015 - I planted two five gallon Texas Star peach trees last February but didn't have the nerve to prune them back to knee height. After having been convinced that this is a good thing to do, I'd like to k...
view the full question and answer

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