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

Ground cover for high traffic area in Pennsylvania
August 01, 2012 - I am wondering if there is a Pennsylvania native turf like grass/plant that can withstand a lot of foot traffic (public area with lots of children). This will be used in a formal setting so will need ...
view the full question and answer

Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin
January 10, 2013 - I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for steep hill in Georgia
May 04, 2009 - We have a large steep hill with only clay and rocks on it in the North Georgia Mountain area. What is a good Native ground covering to put on this for erosion? Something that grows fast preferably. ...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant, Fast Growing Groundcover Suggestions for Georgia
April 20, 2013 - Our driveway is 1/4 mile in length and is steep on both sides (one side up one side down). It currently has grass that our contractor planted using seed when we built our house. We are unable to cut t...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Poconos in Pennsylvania
March 09, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am having a problem growing grass. I live in the Pocono mtns of Pa. my soil is not typical for this area. I have very sandy soil, probably poor quality. grass will not grow. I...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center