En Español

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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


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.


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.


More Shrubs Questions

Shrubs and ground covers for slope in Southern California
March 13, 2010 - Need suggestions for shrubs & ground covers for a west facing, 45 degree angle, sunny slope with compacted, poor draining soil. We live 2-3 miles from the ocean. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen plants in Rhode Island
July 27, 2008 - Please name a few small flowering evergreen plants. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Native sun shrubs and perennials to replace St. Augustine
June 06, 2008 - Hi, I live in Austin and I'm removing the St. Augustine from the southwest side of our house. This area gets intense sun all afternoon, and I'd really like to use a combination of native shrubs and...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping plant for Austin
September 01, 2011 - Great site! Have gotten lots of ideas. We're about to start construction on a fairly major landscaping project: raised beds/privacy screen. We're at the top of a hill in the Hill Country just wes...
view the full question and answer

Plants for church gardens in Ft. Worth TX
November 07, 2013 - Second attempt. Our church has many gardens in Fort Worth, TX. There are gardens for blue,red,yellow,white,purple,orange,pink,mixed,community garden,roses, and more. I am interested in the la...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center