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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 - September 15, 2012

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.

ANSWER:

There are two entirely different plants that go by the common name "Sago Palm." The first is Cycas revoluta (sago palm) native to southern Japan. Here is an article on the culture of this plant from the Master Gardeners from the University of Arizona. Another article from plant retailer Jungle Music.

The second "Sago Palm" is Matroxylon sagu (True Sago Palm) which is native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Malaysia. From Pacific Forest Agroforestry here is an article on the culture of members of the genus Metroxylon.

"Philodendron" is a kind of blanket name for a large group of plants native to tropical Central and South America and the West Indies. It is generally considered a house plant. From Botany.com, here is a comprehensive discussion of Philodendron.

Obviously, none of these plants are native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and preservation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow naturally. Whether you could grow either of them, indoor or out, in Travis or Williamson Counties is quite out of our area of expertise.


 

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