Contact Us Host an Event 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

Friday - July 25, 2014

From: Nederland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: The Designation of Annual and Perennial Plants
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Sometimes when researching a plant I will find it listed as both annual and perennial. I understand that some plants will be perennial in a warm climate and die in a colder zone, but it is still a perennial that is grown out of it's preferred environment.

ANSWER:

Plants that are perennials in warm climates but are not hardy in colder climates are there considered "tender perennials", but are sometimes termed "annuals" in those areas even though they are not technically annuals.  Likewise, some cool-climate annual plants will survive more than one year in warm areas.  Finally, some plants may complete their life cycle in one growing season or they may require more than one growing season to do so.  Those species can be considered both annual and perennial because they may behave either way.  As it turns out, plants are incredibly complicated organisms.

 

More General Botany Questions

Difference between Erigeron strigosus and E. annuus
July 07, 2011 - How can you tell the difference between Erigeron strigosus or Erigeron annuus. Does one have more flowers on it than the other? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a hillside in WI
February 18, 2012 - I live in Wisconsin and am currently doing a research project on plant variation on the north and south sides of a hill. I was wondering you could suggest any books to me that would address this issue...
view the full question and answer

Half-life of the insecticide imidacloprid
March 07, 2011 - How long do systemic insecticides such as imidacloprid (Merit) remain active in nursery grown plants? Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed)is frequently grown with imidacloprid to prevent...
view the full question and answer

What shade trees have non-invasive root systems?
March 03, 2015 - What shade trees have a non-invasive root system? I am in zone 7a. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants!
view the full question and answer

Native plants that will grow under alleopathic black walnut
March 03, 2007 - I have a large, beautiful black walnut tree in my yard and have trouble growing the annuals, begonia, impatients, etc., that I have always grown. They don't do well in the ground and I have resorted...
view the full question and answer

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