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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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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!

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Thursday - October 20, 2011

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Select Region
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Non-native citronella mosquito plant wintering inside in Charlotte NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I bring the citronella mosquito plant in the house over the winter, or should it be planted outside. I live in Charlotte, NC.

ANSWER:

Pelargonium x citrosum, Mosquito plant, is a member of the geranium family. It has been recently introduced into North America, and therefore falls out of our range of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, growth and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally. Mecklenburg County, on the south central border of North Carolina is in USDA Hardiness Zone 7b. Since this plant is considered a sub-tropical, it could probably only be grown in your area as an annual. Bringing it inside is not recommended, as the leaves are considered poisonous and might be nibbled by pets or children.

If you were considering it as a mosquito repellant, please read the comments in this Dave's Garden forum on the plant. Apparently it has no utility as a repellant and can be invasive.

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