En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - April 05, 2007

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Alternatives to invasive, non-native Vinca minor as ground cover
Answered by: Damon Waitt and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Central Austin. I want to plant a large area of Vinca minor since it is fast growing and offers attractive ground cover. I assume it requires little care with the rain being sufficient for it's year around water needs. My question - I have heard there is a pest (worm) that will surely damage any plants in this area. If this is true, can it easily be combatted?

ANSWER:

Introduced from Europe in 1700s, Vinca minor is an ornamental ground cover, commonly sold and planted by gardeners. Although it spreads by vegetative means only, common periwinkle poses a threat to native plants and communities because it grows vigorously, forming a dense monotypic evergreen groundcover that displaces and excludes most other plants, including native wildflowers.

As an alternative, Mr Smarty Plants recommends you look into planting Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) which has cordate leaves, white twin flowers, and red berries or Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower) which has wider spaced leaves and reddish stems, often white and waxy.


Mitchella repens

Gelsemium sempervirens

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Plants for under Oak Trees in LA.
March 05, 2013 - What type of plants and grass can be planted under and around oak trees
view the full question and answer

Plants for a steep bank in Virginia
June 23, 2009 - I have a small yard with a 3 foot steep bank that I want to plant on. I am looking for fast growing ground cover. There is some shade but not a lot and has a southern exposure. Ground is a bit roug...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for groundcover under Magnolia in Austin
April 09, 2009 - What plants native to the Austin, Tx area will do well underneath a large magnolia tree (instead of the English ivy that is there)?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under Spruces from West Chester PA
December 06, 2012 - Trying to get a native groundcover (or any grass/wildflower/fern) planting established under a small stand of spruces. Established stand (30+ years old), so lots of needles on ground. Just about tot...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for burned acreage in Bastrop, Texas
October 31, 2011 - The fire took 2/3 of the trees on my half acre in Bastrop County. It was mostly wild. What do I plant for ground cover? Do I plant native grass seed in fall? I want to keep it native as possible. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center