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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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Wednesday - June 20, 2012

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Non-native Philadelphus Innocence mock orange from Paris TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the best place in the garden to grow Philadelphus Innocence mock orange in Paris, Tx? Also, how long after transplanting do flowers occur? Any tips appreciated

ANSWER:

Philadelphus x lemonei 'Innocence', is a hybrid (the "x" in the middle) and not native to North America. From ArcaMax, here is a website on it that may answer your questions. 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 they grow naturally.

There are 8 members of the genus Philadelphus (mock orange) native to Texas, but only one, Philadelphus pubescens (Hoary mock orange) is native to your area of northeast Texas, on the state line with Oklahoma. It is native to Red River County, right next to Lamar County, so you probably have compatible soils. The problem there is that whatever this plant was hybridized with (lemonei) may have changed the acceptable growing conditions. We know it is related to hydrangeas and prefers acidic soils, which you have in East Texas. Follow the plant link above to find out about the normal growing conditions and try to work out a plan for growing your non-native from that.

 

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