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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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Saturday - October 20, 2007

From: Thousand Oaks, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of non-native house plant
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have bought a 7 foot bird of paradise indoor plant, and have a decorative pot to place it into. The plant will remain in its plastic pot, will have a liner inside decorative pot, and decorative moss on surface. I have bought a meter to help determine when to water.What else can I do to keep this plant looking beautiful and healthy? Special fertilizer? Cleaner for the leaves? I have positioned the plant next to the French doors, and it will never receive direct sunlight, but gets plenty of indirect for 1/2 of the day.

ANSWER:

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise) is a native of South Africa. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is centered on the care and protection of plants native to North America. However, we realize that most indoor and potted plants are non-natives, and think you will find the above link helpful in answering your questions.
 

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