Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Thursday - July 21, 2011

From: Beach Haven, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Color in non-native portulaca from Beach Haven NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought a portulaca in a hanging basket and divided it up and planted it in my garden. It is doing ok..but I have almost entirely orange flowers..maybe two reds. I was hoping for multi-colored..red, orange, white, pink, and yellow. Might I have an orange-only plant? How do I get mulit-colors?? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Portulaca is a tropical plant native to Brazil; some other varieties are native to North Africa. It is an annual, and probably would have been better left in the hanging basket; the colors of your blooms are entirely a function of the seeds that were sown and transplanted into the basket. You can't change flower colors, they are determined by genetics, with the very rare exception. Since your portulaca is a tropical it is not going to survive the first freeze in the Fall.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. Since we will have no information about it in our Native Plant Database, here is an article from e-How Home on Portulaca.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Information on care and transplant of non-native Bamboo in North Carolina
April 15, 2006 - I am considering transplanting some bamboo from my backyard to my side yard in Northern Randolph County, Central Piedmont, North Carolina. Could you offer me any pointers on a direct ground to gro...
view the full question and answer

Information for native garden in Guadalajara, Mexico
July 24, 2006 - I am trying to start up my native garden in Guadalajara Mexico but have not been able to find many databases or info. Any advice or suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting non-native invasive chinaberry trees
July 21, 2008 - I know most folk think Chinaberry trees are only for digging up, but I say that here in the Hill Country during a drought, they are the greenest and purtiest tree around. I have some tall fifteen foo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Pinguicula
October 28, 2005 - Does any plant of the genus Pinguicula (butterworts) grow wild in israel--maybe in Mount Hermon or Upper Galile?. israeli carnivorous plant society couldn't give me a clear answer about this issue. ...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
May 21, 2013 - I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
view the full question and answer

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