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

Friday - November 08, 2013

From: Chillicothe, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Wintering non-native liriope spicata indoors in Chillicothe IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in zone 5, zip 62523, wintering liriope spicata starter plants in basement, ambient consistent. Do I need grow lamps or is the plant satisfied being dormant as long as I do not let it dry out? Also, is this too invasive to use as a border plant?


Liriope spicata is a species of low, herbaceous flowering plants from East Asia. Common names include creeping lilyturf, lilyturf and monkey grass. Because the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (home of Mr. Smarty Plants) is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native to North America, we have no information on this plant in our Native Plant Database. This article from North Carolina State University gives you information on growing it and also mentions that it can be invasive. We could find no mention of using grow lights to winter the plant over. This article from the Missouri Botanical Garden says it is hardy from Zones 4 to 10, so perhaps it could safely be planted in the ground (insulated by the dirt around it) rather than depriving it of natural sunlight all winter.


More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Planting turf grass in PA
October 23, 2010 - Is it too late to plant new grass in mid October in Pittsburg? Should I wait until Spring at this point?
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace Phragmites australis (Common reed) in Cedar Ridge Preserve
February 25, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the DFW area and volunteer at a preserve (Cedar Ridge). We are constantly battling the common reed, Phragmites australis, around the pond. I am wondering what shou...
view the full question and answer

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