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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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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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Monday - March 21, 2005

From: LITTLE ROCK, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Little birds for Little Rock
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I would like to plant flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies like. I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. What do you suggest?

ANSWER:

First, you should check the Native Plant Library on the Wildflower Center web page for our 2-page PDF article "Butterfly Gardening Resources". From this article you will learn that butterflies prefer yellow, blue, and purple flowers with flat surfaces and dense flower heads. One obvious choice would be butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and its cousin green milkweed, or antelope horns (A. viridis). Both are host plants for the monarch butterfly. Another possibility is Engelmann daisy (Engelmannia peristenia). Not only does it attract butterflies but it also blooms well in drought conditions.

You can find your own flowers to attract butterflies by searching in the Native Plants Database on our web page. For instance, if you select Combination Search from the options, and then select "Yellow" from Bloom Color under Bloom Characteristics, "Herb" under Growth Form and "Arkansas" under Select State you will get a list of yellow wildflowers (most with pictures) that are native to Arkansas. Using the criteria for flower shape that attracts butterflies, you can choose flowers from the list and learn more about them. At the top of page for each plant there is a menu. By choosing "Benefits" from the menu, you will be able to see if the flower attracts butterflies.

You can visit our Suppliers Directory to find a source for native plants in your area.
 

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