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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 13, 2007

From: Warwick, RI
Region: Northeast
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Invasiveness of native Viola sororia
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Warwick, RI and have a section of my backyard overgrown with common blue violets. My husband and I would like to relocate them to a more scenic location if possible. The advice the cooperative extension gave us was that the violets were a weed and invasive and we should permanently remove them. Since it's the state flower and a native species, it seems there should be some common ground between having an entire yard of violets and a nice controlled area of violets.

ANSWER:

We would be surprised if not shocked - certainly dismayed - to learn that your state's cooperative extension service is calling your official state flower (also the state flower of New Jersey) a weed and recommending its removal. Rhode Island's state flower, Viola sororia (common blue violet), is a widely distributed native of the eastern half of the United States. While this species is included on some weed lists, it doesn't seem right to consider your own official flower an enemy of the state; especially when it is a native there. As for being invasive, how does one invade one's own home?

Climbing down for a moment from our soapbox, we will admit that common blue violet does often make itself at home in shady lawns. They drive many gardeners to distraction - those who want the perfect, manicured look in their mostly non-native, often invasive lawn grass.

Transplant your violets in early fall in your area. They prefer partial shade, but will perform in fairly dense shade. Full sun locations will not work for woodland violet species.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Optimum mowing time for acreage with spring wildflowers
November 17, 2003 - I have several acres where wildflowers grow in the spring, & would like to know when and how often to mow this field for optimum blooms?
view the full question and answer

Culture and location of native Stachys coccinea
May 10, 2006 - What are the soil, light, and water requirements for Texas betony (Stachys coccinea) and in what area(s) of Texas does it naturally occur?
view the full question and answer

Science project
May 16, 2010 - I am doing a science project and have to find 30 examples of flowers native to Texas to photograph. What is available in the Dallas - Fort Worth area that is easily photographed?
view the full question and answer

Variety of colors in bluebonnet seeds from Houston
November 18, 2013 - Bluebonnet seeds I have collected are a variety of colors, from the sandy/tan color to a grayish color and black color. Are all variations viable? Are they equally viable?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for NY that bloom in the first season
May 17, 2010 - Hi, I'm looking for native annuals that germinate the same season they're planted. There are many northeast native annuals but most of them require a season of frost to germinate the following sprin...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center