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?

Share

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

Monday - February 04, 2008

From: Royal Palm Beach, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of non-native dracaena potted plant
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last summer I was given a corn plant that stands about 6ft tall. About 2 weeks ago it began to flower. Over time I've had maybe 3 or 4 of these plants and never had any of them bloomed. Is this normal - merely suggesting that it's happy where I've got it? The smell is quite overpowering and a bit on the obnoxious side (for me anyway.) The flowers have lasted about 2 weeks and are finally falling off the plant now (and with them the smell, thank god.) In the books I have on houseplants I can't find any mention of them flowering. What can you tell me about this? Thank you,

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is focused on the care and propagation of plants native to North America. We realize, however, that most indoor pot plants are non-native tropicals or sub-tropicals and are always happy to help out with plant care. Dracaena fragrans is a native of West Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

We found this website that addresses your exact problem, "Dracaena fragrans, That's How It Got Its Name". It would appear that fragrance is in the nose of the beholder. Since you also live in South Florida, as does the writer of the article, you might choose to put the plant out in the ground and away from the house if you don't find the "fragrance" all that pleasant.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

How to Deal with Leggy Artemisia 'Silver Mound'
October 03, 2015 - I have two Artemisia (I think 'Silver Mound') in full sun in West Austin. They have been happily growing there for the past 10 or so years. Both were hard-hit by last winter's cold weather and did...
view the full question and answer

Non-native hybrid willows dropping leaves in Downey CA
July 22, 2010 - I have 1 year old Hybrid Willows that are strong and 12 feet tall, with many branches. All of a sudden they are dropping their leaves in July. I got them for fast growing shade, now the branches are ...
view the full question and answer

Zucchini blooms but no fruit
August 26, 2008 - My zuchinni has lots of flowers, but they seem to fall and I am getting no fruit.. WHY
view the full question and answer

Advantages of using native plants
March 28, 2015 - Hello. My question is not about a specific plant but a more general question about natives. I am writing a research paper and am interested in finding seminal research that explains why we should us...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native globe willow in Las Cruces, NM
June 26, 2010 - I live in Las Cruces, NM. I have a good size globe willow tree. The leaves are turning yellow and brown dryness at tips and leaves are falling off. Does it just need water?
view the full question and answer

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