Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?


Smarty Plants Question Topics

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.

69 Results:   10 25 50  100 per page

Chile Pequin growing well in Charleston SC
January 28, 2013
Not really a question. I have successfully grown from seed Chile Pequins I picked up in Texas here in Charleston Sc. They are so hardy they come back from their stalks each year and sprout from seeds ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-native avocado trees in Rio Grande Valley from Austin
January 05, 2013
I just read the article in the Austin American Statesman about growing avocados outdoors. Don't know if they grow here, but they certainly don't just grow in south Florida. I used to live in Wesla...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Mexican species Orbexilum melanocarpum.
January 04, 2013
This is not a question; just a note to supplement a previous MSP post answering a query about a source for Orbexilum. The "mountain pea" that the original questioner was asking about is the e...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Authenticity of a vendor from Pensacola FL
December 26, 2012
Can you verify the authenticity of Alex Jones as someone who can help us?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012
Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Comments on white-flowered Mountain Laurel from Austin
December 23, 2012
Following up on the August 23, 2012, question from Driftwood about the white-flowering mountain laurel, I have found a few more leads to explore. First, there are four more images of white-flowering m...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Advocacy of non-native plants.
December 10, 2012
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Instead of asking a question, I would like to comment on the seemingly discouraging tone on growing plants or trees out of their native habitat that I have observed from rea...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Words of Appreciation
December 05, 2012
This is a word of sincere admiration and appreciation for the spectacular array of information you posted on liatris. I'm no botanist but a native plant gardener, fond of the beauty of orderly scient...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Native violets under maples from Gettysburg PA
July 06, 2012
Just for your info (no need to post or reply), I saw an old post of a question of something to grow under maples. In central PA, native violets grow very well under several species of maples in lawns...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Would like a "try instead of" list for non-native plants in Austin, TX.
June 19, 2012
It would be so helpful if, when asked about a non-native plant, you would do a "try instead of" list. I have about 45 plants to reseach from my landscaping firm, and it's wearing me out to try to...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

June 18, 2012
Can't find a way to say thanks for prompt, helpful answer today from Guy Thompson on starting "Butterflyweed" -- or how to give ans. 5 stars -- so here's thanks &stars! More info than available ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Comment on poisonous sweet pea plant from Kalama WA
October 29, 2011
No question, comment only. I am aware of the story of Christopher McCandless (Call of the Wild)and the belief that he was poisoned by ingesting part of the sweet pea plant; however I am curious what ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Doggy berries
August 30, 2011
I recently wrote to you regarding my Doggy ingesting some berries from a neighbors out of control fence line-falling onto our property. The answer you gave was 100 % correct! Despite my feeble attempt...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Gardening advice for Ontario, Canada
April 20, 2011
HI there. I see most of the readers are in CA, I am in Ontario Canada. I am in need of some advice on a nice flowering all year round garden for both sun/partial sun/shade garden. Some for direct sun ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

List of most popular wildflowers in Texas Hill Country from Austin
January 15, 2011
Can you please tell me the top 10 wildflowers found in the Texas hill numbers, not popularity?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

How can I submit a picture with my question?
November 09, 2010
How can I submit a picture with my question?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Collection dates for Charles Wright in Texas on Flame acanthus page.
September 27, 2010
Mr. SP- there is a date error for Charles Wright's collection time period in Texas, at least on the Flame Acanthus page of It states, "The species name of this plant is for Charles Wri...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Fast growing groundcover for New York
September 02, 2010
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I love your site! But I can't quite find this answer: can you recommend a fast-growing groundcover native to southern NY State (Dutchess County) that I can plant NOW (Augus...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Another plant with ice plant as the common name from Corpus Christi
June 17, 2010
This is not a question, but your "ice plant" answer to El Cajon did not consider Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, which I believe is the common roadside succulent that ate California. God have mercy ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Pot on a pillar in a pond in Pflugerville
April 26, 2010
No question: Just a thanks to Barbara. You can't imagine how hard I laughed when I read the interpretation that I was going to plant Maximilians in a pot on a pedestal in the middle of a pond!!! S...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Sorting for Fabaceae family for Central Texas
July 21, 2009
I can't seem to get the database to sort for: CenTX Fabacae Dry Part shade Perennials All habits Please tell me how
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Question about Salvia coccinea photos in the Native Plant Database
June 29, 2009
A search for Salvia coccinea in the database resulted in some of the pictures showing frostweed crystals ('am assuming that is an error), as well as some white and bicolor pastel pink & white blooms....
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Strawberry tree with yellowing leaves.
June 07, 2009
Just to add to your statistics, I live in Poulsbo, Washington, very near to Tacoma, Washington. My strawberry tree also has yellowing leaves with some black spots. I will take your advice with the iro...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

USDA hardiness Zones
May 10, 2009
I love your site..I don't live in Texas and would like it very much if you would include the zone with plant listings. Thank you for all your hard work!
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Picture of tree in Gilmer, TX cemetery
February 18, 2009
HELP . I am looking to find pictures of the beautiful tree before it was struck by lighting. The tree was in the Gilmer, Tx City View Cemetery ?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer


69 Results:   10 25 50  100 per page