En Español

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

Friday - April 27, 2007

From: Vernon, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Alternatives to non-native heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Vernon, BC, Canada. I plan to put a heather plant in my garden, but my space is limited. I know that it will grow approx. 2 ft. high and that it likes well drained and acidic soil, but how much will it spread, and how long will it bloom? Will it become intrusive to other plants?

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise at the Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America. Calluna vulgaris, Scotch heather is an introduced species native to Europe and Asia. It is classified as invasive in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as in some parts of New Zealand and Australia. You will need to be diligent about keeping it under control.

Perhaps, instead of heather, you could consider a native plant with similar growth habit, such as:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Gaultheria shallon (salal)

Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel)

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry)

Phyllodoce empetriformis (pink mountainheath)

Spiraea splendens var. splendens (rose meadowsweet)


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Gaultheria shallon

Kalmia polifolia

Mahonia repens

Phyllodoce empetriformis

Spiraea splendens var. splendens
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Freeze damage to my Norfolk Island Pine in Houston, TX
March 18, 2010 - Houston, Texas experienced a rare 3-day snow event this winter that allowed snow to stay on my 20 ft. Norfolk Pine, in the ground for over 10 yrs. Every branch is now brown with all dead foliage. I ha...
view the full question and answer

Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
February 27, 2013 - I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good wa...
view the full question and answer

Mosquito problem from Mesa AZ
April 07, 2014 - We have a mosquito problem in our backyard, I think they're grass Mosquitos. I wanted to get lemongrass for a deterrent but both nurseries were out so I opted for rosemary. They're ALL OVER the rose...
view the full question and answer

Leaves of non-native crape myrtle browning in Sinton TX
June 12, 2010 - Crepe myrtle tips of leaves are brown and curling up.
view the full question and answer

Non-native avocado trees in Rio Grande Valley from Austin
January 05, 2013 - I just read the article in the Austin American Statesman about growing avocados outdoors. Don't know if they grow here, but they certainly don't just grow in south Florida. I used to live in Wesla...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center