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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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Friday - August 18, 2006

From: Ashalnd, KY
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Coleus canina, animal detererrent
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I had purchased a plant about 4 years ago at Lowes that I planted in my flower gardens that was a pet deterrent. I cannot remember the name of that plant now? I have spoke to Lowes and others and I am being told there is no such thing? I know there is? Do you know what that plant is called? Thank you.

ANSWER:

You probably bought a plant known as Scardy Cat! or Dog's Gone! or Bunnies Gone!—all the same plant, Coleus canina Sumcol 01 (synonym = Plectranthus caninus). The plant belongs to the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family) and is a native of Africa. It has an odor that has been described as smelling like tomcat pee and has acquired the name in England of the Pee-off plant. Luckily, its smell is only evident to animals with more sensitive noses (cats, dogs, foxes, etc.) than humans. It is only offensive to humans if the plant is crushed or rubbed. You can read more about the product from scardy-cat.com

The cat-repellant.info web page has other suggestions for keeping cats away from forbidden areas.

 

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