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?

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
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

Saturday - April 21, 2012

From: Granger, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Correct size for Wright penstemon from Granger TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The Wright penstemon pictured as your main plant, looks nothing like the other pictures below it. I realize, they can be pink or red. But the LARGE speciman out in your gardens is nowhere near the 1-2 foot height that you specify. Is the tag marking that enormous plant wrong? Or should you adjust the size that you have listed for this plant. I think I bought one, and I'm just trying to determine where to put it, depending on size. thanks! PS This was my first Wildflower Center visit for the show this weekend. Great!!!

ANSWER:

We are so glad you enjoyed your first visit to the Wildflower Center. Come back for many more.

We are a little puzzled about your mention of a large specimen of Penstemon wrightii (Wright's beardtongue) in our Gardens. We searched our Wildflower Center Master Taxa List but did not find the plant listed. That doesn't really signify, lists get out of date. Please follow the plant link above to our webpage on this plant. You are correct, that webpage refers to height range as 1-3 ft. Another source, Mountain States Wholesale Nursery, mentions "topping out at 4 ft." We can tell you it is a full sun plant, and a perennial, which means it will spread and can be divided or trimmed back as necessary. It also does not require much water. If it is, indeed, growing in our Gardens, it is probably being treated appropriately for its natural conditions and is just large and happy.

Here are the two pictures of this plant that we have in our Image Gallery. From the website Wild About Penstemon, more information.

We have to admit we have not specifically answered your question. This particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants team is a volunteer living close to the Wildflower Center, and I worked on the Plant Sale. Unfortunately, I don't remember laying eyes either on the plant in the Gardens to which you referred, nor in the Sale. As we have already mentioned, we recommend it be planted in full sun (6 hours or more of sun daily) and not in an area heavily watered.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Year Round Interest
February 16, 2015 - I'm involved in a paradigm shift from traditional bedding plants (petunias, zinnias, begonias, etc.) to native plants. I realize that native plants have natural life cycles where they look pretty bad...
view the full question and answer

Giant Thistle-Like Plant from Elgin, TX
June 01, 2014 - I have a giant thistle like plant in my field we have been unable to identify. It looks like a milk thistle but it is short..only about a foot tall..stocky...and the flowers are giant..about 6 to 8 i...
view the full question and answer

What to do about early seedlings
January 16, 2015 - Hello, Over the last few weeks I have noticed that all my naturally occurring poppies and delphiniums have started to sprout up around my yard. Hundreds of them! I imagine it's because of the ear...
view the full question and answer

Do monarchs like Cynachum laeve in Austin, TX?
May 29, 2012 - I have found what I believe is Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve) growing in my yard here in Austin. I tried using the LBJWC plant data base and could not find it. I also found the plant with a diff...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center