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?

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 Shrubs Questions

Does Buttonbush Spread?
May 20, 2015 - I live in Los Angeles County. Does Buttonbush spread via its roots/rhizomes? I've got a picture I could send in a reply. Gotta know if it's, what I see, a part of the buttonbush.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for area around underground storm shelter
May 27, 2013 - We want to plant shrubs around our underground storm shelter to divide it from our parking area. Obviously, this is to avoid having someone drive on top of the shelter. What native shrub to North GA ...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Improving blooming on mock orange
March 03, 2008 - I have a now 6 yr. old mock orange shrub in the garden which has never bloomed, darn it. I have fed, not fed, mulched, not mulched, sheared, not sheared. What gives? Will it ever bloom, or shall I ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy screen
August 10, 2015 - We are looking for a good plant(s) that would provide a privacy screen by our fence. We were looking at clumping bamboo (maybe black) because it grows quickly and it not too thick. The new plants woul...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center