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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for 100 gal. pot by pool from Ft. Worth TX
June 23, 2012 - What North Texas evergreen or combination of evergreen plants, bushes or trees could thrive in a huge, 100-gallon clay pot (immovable!) that is situated in full sun year round in an exposed area n...
view the full question and answer

Fall care for Fan Scarlet lobelia in Rock Island IL
November 09, 2009 - What do I do with Scarlet Fan lobelia in the fall; do I cut it back or let it go as is?
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
view the full question and answer

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Arizona
July 16, 2015 - Slowly turning south-facing lawn to drought-tolerant plantings with gravel paths. Mature Ponderosa and several blue spruce and junipers surround area. Grass area I'm converting with a few larger tr...
view the full question and answer

When should salvia greggii be pruned from Austin
December 12, 2013 - Should salvia greggii be pruned in fall/winter? I thought I read onsite that all woody perennials should be left untouched or pruned to 6 inches. Does this apply to salvia greggii?
view the full question and answer

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