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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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Sunday - May 12, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Can non-native coleus grow in mulch from San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can Coleus plants grow in Mulch only?

ANSWER:

From Wikipedia: "Solenostemon (coleus) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae, native to tropical Africa, Asia and Australia."

It is therefore not native to North America, which means the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, has no information on it.

We can, however, tell you about mulch. Please read our How-To Article on Under Cover with Mulch. This tells you that decomposing mulch added to soil will amend the soil as to good drainage and access to nutrients in the soil. If you are asking if coleus can grow in soil that has been mulched, the answer is "yes." If you are wondering if any plant, coleus included, can grow in nothing but raw mulch, the answer is "no." Water and nutrients for the plant are drawn up from the soil by tiny rootlets.

Just to show we are good sports, here is an article on Coleus from Clemson University Extension.

 

 

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