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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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Sunday - July 02, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Alternatives for non-native, invasive Dianthus spp.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We're landscaping our 1963 ranch house in Austin, and we're trying to balance low water and wildscape concerns. Being just across the street from Shoal Creek means we're staying away from anything that might be invasive. Dianthus pink looks like a good candidate for a particularly hot and sunny corner, but at least one book lists it as invasive. Nothing else does, however. So, is Dianthus pink considered an invasive plant in Texas?

ANSWER:

All of the Dianthus spp. are introduced to North America. Dianthus armeria is listed as invasive by the Southern Weed Science Society, Weeds of the United States and Canada. It is also listed on the TexasInvasives.org page. We would like to discourage you from planting invasive species. Perhaps you could consider a Central Texas native, such as: prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida), Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides), or Texas betony (Stachys coccinea).
 

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