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.

<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 5 next >> 
250 Results:   10  25 50 100 per page

Are agaves really native from Pacific Palisades CA
April 30, 2013
I just replied re agave issues, and mistakenly asked the source of your information. I see that you clearly noted it, apologies. I would note, however, that the Riverside area is very much a hot,...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Runaway Agave Americana from Pacific Palisades CA
April 29, 2013
We live near open space on Santa Monica Mountain State Park. Our Association planted non-native, invasive Agave Americanas all over the adjacent slopes, and we are trying to get the exploding pups and...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Loss of bloom stalk on Yucca filamentosa from Scotch Plains NJ
April 27, 2013
We have 3 Yucca filamentosa L. planted together, in NJ. A friend of ours was helping to remove the weeds, little did she know and removed the blooming stalk from the plants. By the time I saw, it was ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Identification of Wood from Frying Pan Ranch Near Amarillo, TX (possibly Cholla)
April 26, 2013
I'm doing research for a museum exhibition and have been told the "holey" piece of wood from The Frying Pan Ranch near Amarillo Texas is "chollya" but I can find no information. Can you help?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013
I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Black bugs on yucca from Aledo TX
April 14, 2013
We have flowering yuccas that have thousands of small black bugs that seem to be hurting the plant. They are not on any other foliage in our beds. What do I use to get rid of them??
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Century plant leaves falling over from San Antonio
April 10, 2013
Have a large century plant about % feet tall. The leaves are falling over. Can you tell me what to do to avoid this.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Failure to bloom of red yucca from Lago Vista TX
April 09, 2013
I am in Lago Vista - trying to find out why I can't get my red yucca to bloom. The first year they were great and now after two or three years - no measurable spikes have shown up. HELP!
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

What to do with agave after it blooms from Phoenix AZ
March 12, 2013
Hello! I have 2 century plants in the process of blooming. How exciting!! I've never really seen it before. Anyway, what do I then do with the dying/dead plant. Simply dig it up and trash it? T...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Saving frozen yuccas from North Carolina
February 23, 2013
I live in NC and have 2 potted yucca plants on my deck. Every year I have brought them in for the winter. This year, someone told us that we could leave them out all winter. They began to die in the c...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Thorny shrub for deterring break-ins in southeast Texas
February 05, 2013
Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Potential longevity of Century Plant bloom stalk from Marana AZ
January 23, 2013
What is the potential longevity of a Century Plant stalk/bloom? I would like to use it in my yard for ornamentation. Will it last for weeks, months or years or decompose relatively quickly?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Prickly pear doing poorly on Long Island NY
December 27, 2012
First, thanks for your reply on 11-3-12, re.Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY. The plants were set before a southern window in the attic, temp. ra...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012
I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Preserving century plant bloom stalk from Sedona AZ
December 16, 2012
I have the flower stalk from a century plant which I am using as a Christmas tree. Can you advise me as to what I should do to preserve it for future use? Should it be kept indoors or outdoors. Pro...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
December 09, 2012
I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave an...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY.
November 03, 2012
Took a cutting of a prickly pear cactus from my daughters garden in Harker Heights, Tx. Her plants are 5'ht.& wt. Set it into a 10" pot with garden mix soil. Early July 2012, brought it home to Long...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Suitable container plants for Austin
October 23, 2012
Hi, I see some info on native house plants, but not much. I live in an apartment that doesn't get much direct sun (maybe 2 hours a day) -- is there anything for me native-wise (Austin) if I have to h...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Information about prickly pear cactus for school project
October 19, 2012
Hello my name is Case Danzeiser. I go to a middle school called Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. We are doing a species study on a native Texas plants and animals. I choose to study the pri...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Smog-eating plants from Ft. Worth TX
September 30, 2012
Looking for a list (40 >) of Native Texas Plants for Fort Worth Urban (Condo) that are Drought tolerant or (drip irr) and Fragrant and long blooming and eat up the city smog. Fort Worth is in a non-at...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Film growing on prickly pear from Austin
September 28, 2012
We've just xeriscaped our front & back yards. Two of the spineless prickly pear cacti have a beige film growing on the paddles. The film is now moving further up the cactus, and one of the upper pad...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Winter care of succulents from Bethlehem PA
September 09, 2012
We live in the northeast and we used succulents on our deck this summer because nothing else would survive the intense heat. How can I save these beautiful plants through a cold winter? Thank you.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012
i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012
My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-native jade plant from Pauline SC
August 24, 2012
Do jade plants grow in South Carolina; if, so where?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
August 14, 2012
Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Removing faded flowers from plants in Georgetown, DE
July 28, 2012
I bought a chamase rose quartz that was in bloom. now the buds are dead, should i remove them or just leave them on the plant. they wont just fall off. and the tips of the plant has new growth.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Plant ID of succulent from Flagler Beach FL
July 08, 2012
file:///C:/Users/CircuitCity/Downloads/All%20sizes%20%20%20baby%20plants%20growing%20on%20succulent%20leaves%20%20%20Flickr%20-%20Photo%20Sharing!_files/3901143728_dcf227ea85.jpg I have a succulent t...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Foundation plants for Albuquerque.
July 01, 2012
Hello, I live in Albuquerque. I am looking for some native/xeric low water usage plants for foundation plants for my home. They will be foundation plants for a two story home that has a large ponde...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Source for Century Plant in Wilmington NC
June 24, 2012
Where can I buy a Century plant in the Wilmington NC area?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Plants for 100 gal. pot by pool from Ft. Worth TX
June 23, 2012
What North Texas evergreen or combination of evergreen plants, bushes or trees could thrive in a huge, 100-gallon clay pot (immovable!) that is situated in full sun year round in an exposed area n...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Saving non-native sempervivum from accidental weed killer application from Nashville TN
June 15, 2012
How to save a 'Live Forever' plant that had weed killer put on it by mistake.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

No blooms on Spineless Prickly Pear in Austin
June 07, 2012
I've had a spineless prickly pear planted in the shade for about 3 years. It has done just fine there, but has never bloomed. I recently moved it to a full sun location(I'm in north Austin) and cove...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012
I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Repotting non-native Agave ghiesbreghtii from Spring TX
June 03, 2012
I've recently purchased an Agave ghiesbreghtii, and will need to re-pot it soon. I have some cactus soil mix as well as a few rocks to put in the bottom of its new pot. There seem to be roots comi...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Plants for 16th floor of condo in Panama City Beach, FL
May 30, 2012
My husband and I have a COSI on the west end of Panama City Beach, Fl. I love plants and flowers and live out of state. Our condo is on the 16th floor and directly on the gulf. What type of plants ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Pollinator to Arkansas yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012
Thank you Barbara for your answer. However, my Arkansas yuccas bloom every year, but do not set seed. I am asking for the name of the moth that pollinates them, or other native plants that serve as ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012
What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Why has yucca not bloomed from Sacramento CA
May 03, 2012
I looked for an answer to my question on your list but did not find one. We have had a yucca plant that has never bloomed since we planted it about 8 years ago. I has grown tall (6-7 feet) and we ha...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Spineless prickly pear from Lago Vista TX
April 30, 2012
We visited Lady Bird Johnson Center yesterday. I was impressed with the spine less prickly pear cactus. Is it a native or a hybrid?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Preserving the agave bloom for decoration from Sedona AZ
April 28, 2012
I have an agave century plant which is starting to bloom. Is there some way I can preserve the flower as a decoration piece?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Sunny and shady lawns from Austin
April 28, 2012
My front yard has a large bed surrounded by a mix of St. Augustine and Bermuda grass. Last summers heat killed off about 90% of the St. Augustine, which we would like to replace anyway to conserve re...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Transporting a plant on airplane from New York City
April 21, 2012
Can I transport via airplane a jade plant from New York City to Colorado in my suitcase?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Seeds of agave attenuata from San Diego CA
April 16, 2012
After the agave attenuata bloom dried up there are seeds like thing hanging on the foxtail; do I leave it until it dies or do I chop that down. Are those seeds for propagation. The leaves of the plan...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012
Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Problems with claret cup cactus in Austin
April 07, 2012
I have a claret cup cactus in a terra-cotta pot that bloomed beautifully a few years ago but hasn't since. This year, it set about a dozen buds and looked poised to bloom like crazy, but two weeks la...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Sap from agave causing reactions from Edgewater FL
April 06, 2012
Not only was I stuck with the century plant thorns and needle like ends when I was digging up its pups, but I also broke the carrot-like root of a few when I was transplanting and got the white sap on...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Insects on yucca from Ft. Worth TX
April 05, 2012
I have a plant labeled Yucca Soft Leaf recurvifolia that I planted about 5 years ago,& was beautiful until last summer when it became infested with thousands of fast, tiny, dark insects. I sprayed wit...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Black fungus on cholla cactus from Austin
March 25, 2012
How to get rid of black fungus on cholla cactus? Cut it off? And treat with what?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Propagation of non-native Selenicereus Antonyanus from Warwick RI
March 24, 2012
I just purchased a Selenicereus Anthonyanus, Rick Rack Cactus unrooted. I have searched on the web of the proper way to root the plant and have had no luck except it says easy rooting but not how to r...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer


<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 5 next >> 
250 Results:   10  25 50 100 per page