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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Thursday - April 04, 2013

From: Ocean Springs, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Pruning of non-native Senna bicapsularis from Ocean Springs MS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 4 Senna plants (cassia bicapsularis) that I planted late last spring. They about 3-4 feet tall but are very gangly with leaves at or near the tips only. How should I prune them to encourage growth and promote a healthier bush? I live in the Biloxi, Mississippi area.

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Cassia bicapsularis (Butterfly Plant), also known as Senna bicapsularis, is not native to North America. 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 areas in which they grow natively; in your case; Jackson Co., MS. This is because plants growing in the area where they have evolved are already accustomed to the climate, rainfall and soils and therefore require less watering, fertilizer and care.

Since it will not be in our Native Plant Database, we found this article from the University of Florida Extension.  You will need to scroll down the page to "Use and Management" to find suggestions on the care of the plant.


 

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