En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


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.


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 Non-Natives Questions

Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
view the full question and answer

Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
September 25, 2011 - I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
view the full question and answer

Plant for eastern facing side of house in Washington
August 26, 2008 - I was considering putting some Lily of the Nile in front of the eastern facing side of my home. Is this plant a suitable choice for planting here in Eastern Washington?
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Recovery of damaged fuchsia plant in hanging basket
July 23, 2007 - I had a beautiful fuchsia plant hanging on my porch. The hanger gave way and the plant fell straight down into another flower bed. The fuchsia seemed ok. I put it back in the pot put up new strong ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center