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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 03, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks
Title: What is considered mid-winter in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This question was submitted, but I am unsure of the dates the answer is indicating. When is mid-winter?

Question: When should I cut back (and how far should I cut back) the following plants in order to promote growth in the spring: Salvia gregii, Salvia leucantha, Ruellia (Mexican petunia), Plumbago, Skullcap, Fatsia, and Mexican Heather?

Answer: All of the plants listed may be pruned back now (mid-winter) by 1/3 to 1/2 to promote healthier new growth and more compact habit. Try not to cut them back to single stems.

ANSWER:

The original question came from someone living in Austin, Texas and Mr. Smarty Plants considers that mid-winter in Austin would be January and February. This would be after the fall growing season and before the new spring growing season begins. The answer (which is dated January 21, 2007) does say "now (mid-winter)". The date (January 21, 2007) is the date the question was answered and posted.

 

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