Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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 - May 16, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Pruning practices from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need to do some pruning in my front beds and I know nothing about plants. From what I have been able to identify I have bicolor irises, plumbago, Japanese Aralia. I don't even know where to begin on trimming these back. Any tips?

ANSWER:

Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question that both explains about our not having information on non-native plants and has a care suggestion for Dietes bicolor, also known as African iris or Bicolor iris, native to South Africa.

From Floridata, here is an article about Plumbago auriculata, also native to South Africa. This article has some information on care for the plant.

From SF Gate Home Guide How to Cut Back Japanese aralia. This plant is native to Japan and South Korea.

Since Mr. Smarty Plants lives in Austin, too, we would like for you to consider beginning to switch to plants native to Central Texas. We suggest you read our How-To Articles Using Native Plants  and A Guide To Native Plant Gardening.

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Restoring tornado-damaged property in Alexander City AL
January 29, 2012 - Dear Mr Smartypants, We were struck by the outbreak of tornadoes last spring and our wonderful woods are now unsightly sloping pastures with erosion problems.. many stumps and coils of roots. We are...
view the full question and answer

Light requirements for Heartleaf Skullcap from Smithville TX
June 29, 2011 - How much sun or shade does Heartleaf Skullcap need?
view the full question and answer

Poppies for a wedding in August from Highlands Ranch CO
February 04, 2013 - Are poppies available to buy for weddings in August in Colorado?
view the full question and answer

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
December 10, 2012 - Half of my small yard is in the shade of one big live oak and one kumquat. Nothing I plant grows in this shade. The other half of my yard gets sunlight. It is planted with Jasmine grass which grows w...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
June 19, 2010 - We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty fee...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.