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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

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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Saturday - March 24, 2012

From: Charlton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Watering, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Care for non-native 'Glacier Blues' from Charlton MA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do you have to prune or cut down Glacier Blues in the garden? My plants look brown and wilted.

ANSWER:

Common names of plants make us crazy. In searching for the plant you are asking about, we got this result from Perennial.com, on Euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue.' From the same website, we found this information on Veronica prostrata Glacier Blue.The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. These plants are both cultivars or named selections of plants, and will not be in our Native Plant Database.

Euphorbia characias (Mediterranean Spurge) is native to, well, the Mediterranean area of Europe. Here is an article from Floridata on this plant that can give you more information than we can.

Veronica prostrata does not appear in our database, but there are 8 members of the genus Veronica (speedwell) native to Massachusetts that do. We chose Veronica officinalis (Common speedwell) as an example. We have no pictures of this particular species in our Native Plant Gallery, but here are pictures of it from Google. We found this article from the Missouri Botanical Garden on Veronica prostrata, which says it is native to Europe and, therefore, like the Euphorbia characias, it will not appear in our Native Plant Database.

Our first thought when you mentioned the symptoms you were having was of poor drainage in the soil; that is, water is not draining away from the roots normally and the roots are stressed or even drowning. Sure enough, from the referenced article from Missouri Botanical Garden, we excerpted this comment:

"Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils. Plants may be sheared after flowering to revitalize and to encourage new foliage growth."

It will be up to you to figure out which "Glacier Blue" is the plant you are growing, and from the references we have given you, ascertain what has caused the problem, and correct it.

 

 

 

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