Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Thursday - July 21, 2011

From: Beach Haven, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Color in non-native portulaca from Beach Haven NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought a portulaca in a hanging basket and divided it up and planted it in my garden. It is doing ok..but I have almost entirely orange flowers..maybe two reds. I was hoping for multi-colored..red, orange, white, pink, and yellow. Might I have an orange-only plant? How do I get mulit-colors?? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Portulaca is a tropical plant native to Brazil; some other varieties are native to North Africa. It is an annual, and probably would have been better left in the hanging basket; the colors of your blooms are entirely a function of the seeds that were sown and transplanted into the basket. You can't change flower colors, they are determined by genetics, with the very rare exception. Since your portulaca is a tropical it is not going to survive the first freeze in the Fall.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. Since we will have no information about it in our Native Plant Database, here is an article from e-How Home on Portulaca.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plantings for beneath a red oak in Lubbock TX
February 23, 2012 - What would you recommend to plant in a two tiered raised bed facing west, totally blocked from the east, thus receiving only the afternoon sun? A 21 year old red oak sits in the middle of the upper ra...
view the full question and answer

Plants for southwest Louisiana courtyard
December 29, 2009 - Hi, I live in southwest Louisiana,very close to Texas. I would like to remove the grass in my townhome backyard (east sun exposure) and create a courtyard by adding pavers. However I am planning on...
view the full question and answer

Hillside Erosion Control for Gainesville GA
August 07, 2013 - I have a steep bare hill and the runoff from it is heavy this year. I need help with a fast growing groundcover that will help control erosion and runoff. Planting on the hill is difficult because you...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of native perennial blooming plants
March 22, 2008 - Hello - I am still a newbie at using Native Texas plants (but loving them!), and I need pruning assistance. When (and how much) do I prune: hot lips salvia, hummingbird bush (anisthcanthus wrightii...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Meadow for Poth, TX
January 22, 2014 - I recently cleared some underbrush from a virgin pasture, with large oaks and mesquites scattered through it, and was wondering if it was too late to plant wildflowers? If not, what varieties of wildf...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.