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?


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 - June 26, 2015

From: Seattle, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Wildflowers
Title: Pollinators for Washington State
Answered by: Larry Larson


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am removing invasive knotweed in the Pacific Northwest and I would like to provide native plant alternatives that would flower and provide pollen in the late summer/fall for native and naturalized pollinators. Please help and thank you in advance!


Mr Smarty Plants and the Wildflower Center thank you for chasing after and removing that Fallopia japonica

We have a good tool for suggesting alternatives.   The Wildflower Center maintains lists of Special Collections of native plants organized by area and function.  One of these is the Special Collection for “Special Value to Native Bees”   [there are also lists for Bumble Bees, Honey Bees and for nesting materials for native bees]

These special collections have the capability to search the data for region and a number of characteristics.   As you asked about candidates that bloom in late summer or fall – I selected Washington State and plants that bloomed in August through December.  This still left 109 candidates, so I think you have a pretty good choice.  I’ll include pictures from twelve of them below, but you should try to use this database yourself to make a selection!


From the Image Gallery

Chamerion angustifolium

California poppy
Eschscholzia californica

Yellow spiderflower
Cleome lutea

Rocky mountain beeplant
Cleome serrulata

Common woolly sunflower
Eriophyllum lanatum

Clustered thistle
Cirsium brevistylum

Flat-top goldentop
Euthamia graminifolia var. graminifolia

Spotted trumpetweed
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus

Common gaillardia
Gaillardia aristata

Silky lupine
Lupinus sericeus

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Wild mint
Mentha arvensis

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Butterfly Garden, non-poisonous to Dogs, in Taylor MI
March 27, 2014 - I have a small fenced yard with a patio that my dogs have free access to. I would like to create a butterfly garden and add other plants that are non toxic to my dachshunds. Any suggestions. I am f...
view the full question and answer

Propagating milkweeds for a monarch butterfly habitat
November 02, 2009 - I am planting a monarch habitat in Burnet, Tx with Antelope horns, Green milkweed, and butterfly weed. Should I plant in fall or spring??? Should I use cold moist stratification for 3 months at 40...
view the full question and answer

Butterflies attracted by Pink Evening Primrose from Burnet TX
July 30, 2012 - I see information on Pink Evening Primrose that says it attracts 'many butterflies' Please tell me which butterflies and name them? I've looked everywhere and am just exhausted and frustrated with...
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive plants for hummingbird and butterfly garden
January 20, 2009 - Hello :) I've been building a huge Hummingbird and Butterfly garden. Up until now I've only had the Milkweeds and Dill for host plants for the Monarch and Black Swallowtail Butterflies. I'd love t...
view the full question and answer

Food for butterflies in Austin
April 21, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, my kids and I are raising Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars but it's still too cold to release them (oddly cool spring we're having!) If they mate and lay eggs, what loc...
view the full question and answer

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