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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

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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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!

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Wednesday - March 09, 2016

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vine to attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds in Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

We'd like suggestions for a climbing, flowering, butterfly/hummingbird friendly plant for our Austin, TX backyard!!

ANSWER:

You've left out some critical information in your question. How much sun will it get? What kind of soil will it be growing in? What kind of structure will it be growing on?

I recommernd you go to wildflower.org, click on Native Plants and then Native Plant Database. On that page you can enter in your specific sun and soil conditions and the color and time for you would like it to bloom. Also specify that you are looking for a perennial vine. 

A search like this may return over a hundred plants. Many of these will not be readily available in local nurseries so you can eliminate them. Others, including popular vines like Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) and Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) can be quite destructive to wooden structures and will be best grown on a masonary or metal support structure.

Now, having said all that. the abscence of crucial information won't keep Mr. Smarty Plants from having an opinion. My choice would be Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle). Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and has a long bloom period.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

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