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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Thursday - March 17, 2016

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Care of non-native plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant that grows about 1' tall, looks sort of like a dracaena. The leaves grow off of a short stem and are yellowish (no green at all) with brilliant slashes of hot pink an red. It is georgous. I put it on my porch early in the year last year and it thrived. I brought in for the winter and it seemed to be doing fine but it is getting leggy. Some of the leaves have died. I suspect over watering or irregular watering. I don't know what the name is so can't look it up. I'm afraid to put it on the porch yet - cold weather predicted this next weekend. I'm getting old and forgetful and I might forget to bring it in. What to do???

ANSWER:

Your plant does sound lovely, but I am quite sure it is not a plant native to North America.  Our focus here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America and to increase the sustainable use and conservation of these native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes.  As such we aren't the source that can tell you how to deal with your non-native ornamental plant, but I can suggest ways for you to find the answer to your question.

First, if you would like to know what your plant is called, please take photos of it and visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Once you know its name you can do an internet search for its care.  Also, there are several garden/plant forums (e.g., Garden Web) that focus on care of garden and house plants that are non-native. 

 

 

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