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

Sunday - July 26, 2009

From: Mt. Clemens, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of potted non-native geraniums
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in lower Michigan (Mt. Clemens) and recently purchased 2 small, potted geraniums. They are a beautiful vibrant red in color. As the blooms wilt and turn dark, should I snip that part off the stem or just remove the darkened petals?

ANSWER:

There are three species of the genus Geranium native to Michigan, and we're betting none of them are the plant you have. They are: Geranium bicknellii (Bicknell's cranesbill), Geranium carolinianum (Carolina geranium), and Geranium maculatum (spotted geranium).  We'll show you some pictures of a couple of these, and we're sure you will agree that is not what you have. We are pretty sure none of this genus have bright red flowers.

The plants usually sold in the nursery trade under the name "Geranium" are, in fact, members of the Pelargonium genus, which is indigenous to South Africa. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the care, preservation and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. However, while your plants will not appear in our Native Plant Database, we can tell you that it is always a good idea to clip off the stem of a bloom that has wilted, as well as leaves that are yellowing. This website from Flower Gardening Made Easy: Growing geraniums-Great in the garden and in pots, does, indeed, tell you in the first paragraph that they are actually talking about pelargonium. From Google, here are more pictures of your plant.

\

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina geranium
Geranium carolinianum

Carolina geranium
Geranium carolinianum

Spotted geranium
Geranium maculatum

Spotted geranium
Geranium maculatum

More Non-Natives Questions

Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
June 18, 2013 - I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
view the full question and answer

ID for Caribbean mystery plants.
January 13, 2016 - I AM TRYING TO FIND THE COMMON NAME FOR TWO FLOWERS I TOOK PICTURES OF ON A CARIBBEAN CRUISE. I TOOK ONE IN HONDURAS AND ONE IN GRAND CAYMAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE I CAN GO TO TO GET HELP IN ID...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive tungoil tree
July 21, 2006 - I believe I have a tungoil tree growing in my yard. How do I care for it and when would be the best time to move it. It is about 6 foot tall and has about 12 seed (fruit) on it. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Differences between Lantana urticoides and Lantana camara
July 13, 2012 - I have found an orange variety of lantana growning in several location in Jefferson County. Is there any way I can tell for sure if it is L. camara or the native L. urticoides?
view the full question and answer

Texas frogfruit vs. non-native St. Augustine grass
October 12, 2008 - Can Texas frogfruit resist invasion by St. Augustine grass, or will I need to create a barrier?
view the full question and answer

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