Hello clams, and Happy Friday!

Welcome back to our Ask the Experts plant panel. We’ll have an answer to last week’s plant puzzler, as well as a new puzzler, after the panel.

Let’s say hi to the experts. Hi experts!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You guys are so cute! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

This week’s question relates to hailing in the new year:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

Expert Tina, as usual, you’re up first.

A. “I would love love love to have a giant ming aralia! And a avocado tree! I know I know…. no way to grow a avocado tree here and expect it to fruit. But you said wish for right?”

Yup, I said wish alright. I love those Mings (Polyscias fruticosa), I haven’t seen one in ages, though. They always struck me as distinctly feminine, with those pretty delicate leaves.

I think you should give the avocado a shot – maybe it will like enough to fruit, despite living in the desert. You never know, right?

Ok, good job again this week, Tina. I’m going to call that a correct answer. This week, you’ve earned a step closer to your wishes coming true, 10 gold stars and extra credit from now until April. Thanks for being here!

Up next, Expert Tim Thackaberry. Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

A. “Interesting question. Would it be weird if I asked for a bunch of Venus Flytraps for my house? Seems like it would be a lot of fun watching them snap at stuff all the time, it would really keep you on your toes. And I understand you can feed them raw hamburger, which is just awesome.”

Yes, that would be weird. But. You’re a dude. I can see its inherent awesomeness from your point of view.

So I’ll go ahead and call that a win. Congrats, Thack. Also, happy birthday! This week, you’ve earned a bright future, a coupon good for half off a mid-life crisis and 40 gold stars. Thanks for being here!

Expert EZ Ed Johnson, here’s the question to you:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

A. “Every year I intend to buy a poinsettia for Christmas, just because. And I never do. Think I can buy one on sale now?”

Oooh, sorry EZ. I’m going to have to call that a wrong answer. Your Poinsettia reference reminds me of how much I dislike Poinsettias, so obviously, I can’t call it correct.

That’s a shame – you hate to see a good expert go down like that. But rules are rules, and on this panel, the rules are subject to whatever whim I happen to experience at any given moment.

I do appreciate you being here, so you still earned my gratitude! Thanks, EZ!

Expert Dottie is unavailable again this week, so let’s admire her adorableness:

Then move on to Expert Lewis:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

A. “Well I have always wanted a good chocolate bar tree, or a beer bottle bush, a beefsteak pine, a candy cane willow, a flowering gold coin iris, a rainbow rose, a million dollar basil, a thousand mile pumpkin, a sunny day potato, a rainy day plum, gone with the wind daffodils, eyes of blue mid morning glories, green leaf peas, too tall blue green algae, micro eggplant, lost my way corn, blue moon carrots, mighty mighty pomegranates, boo who onions, top of the world garlic.  I would bestow this on all who have ever wanted a reach for the star apple, those who can’t teach, those who can do, those who don’t have a clue welcome abroad. If I don’t know what to write I never let that stop me obliviously the winds of BS blow greatly through my mind. World events and Arizona have brought sadness and tears to my heart, so we try to bring a smile to weary souls with a little silliness.”

Aw! A sunny day potato sounds so nice! You do make us smile around here each week, Lewis, so thanks for that! We do what we can to give people a little respite from the crazy world out there. It may not be much, but to be fair, we’re just one panel! Haha, imagine what we could do with say, 4 or 5 panels.

Thanks for being here, Lewis. This week you’ve earned an A, endless garden rewards and two imaginary sacks of gold coins.

That wraps our panel for this Friday. The experts will return in exactly one week. Now on to last week’s plant puzzler.

???Real or Fake???

Last week I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Let’s see how you answered.

mr_subjunctive at Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake. Though, as usual, I can’t figure out quite how I know.”

steph wrote, “Fake. Leaves are translucent.”

goofy wrote, “It’s a fake. I blew it up and could see the plastic veins.”

Ginny Burton wrote, “A fake. And a dusty one at that.”

Martha, from Plowing through Life, wrote, “Fake. Looks a little too ‘papery’ to me.”

villager, from Our Happy Acres, wrote, “I’d like to be the only one to say it’s real, but it isn’t, so I can’t!”

plant master wrote, “Fake, lol.”

And Ivynettle, from Letters and Leaves, wrote, “Totally fake. Don’t even need a second look for that.”

gray.com wrote, “I’m not sure I agree with everybody. If you were diligent about watering it properly, it could be healthy and pretty. It’s true that there doesn’t appear to be any flaws whatsoever, and the backside of that one big leaf looks like it was ironed or something, but I don’t think, overall, one should rush to judgment.”

Well, that’s sweet, gray.com, but everyone had good reason to rush to judgment – the plant’s totally fake. And we all know what fake plants are, right? Lame-o-rama! And a waste of money.

So congratulations to all my winners. This week, you’ve earned an ecologically friendly shopping bag full of bagging rights, good cheer and of course, my gratitude for playing. Thanks!

On to the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Because these seem to be popular, here’s another. Is this plant real or fake:

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, January 20, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.