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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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Monday - February 04, 2013

From: Waco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning
Title: Pruning Cuphea Plants
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

The David Verity cuphea (cigar plants) that I planted last spring are now 3-4 feet high. I would like to move them, but before I do they seem to need pruning. All the branches are brown and dry looking. How many inches above the ground would you recommend?

ANSWER:

Cuphea ‘David Verity’ is a hybrid, which the Missouri Botanical Gardens says is possibly from Cuphea ignea crossed with Cuphea micropetala and is winter hardy to zone 8.

Sorry, cuphea are a little out of our line. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Your cuphea has been hybridized and originally imported from other countries and not considered native.

Even though your Cuphea 'David Verity' is a hybrid and considered outside the realm of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it is similar to the native lantana, and you should be fine pruning the cuphea down to 1-2 feet during the winter while it is dormant so you can transplant it before spring. Cuphea ‘David Verity’ is a “Plants for Texas” plant and is recommended for Texas gardens. Although your cuphea is not native, the Plants for Texas plant list does have many natives that they promote.  

 

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