En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush

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
8 ratings

Thursday - March 27, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it in the ground. If I put it in the ground and the bush gets big and takes over just the fence that's great (more berries for me), but I am just concerned it would send runners up through my lawn and all over my back yard. Will that happen? Should I keep it in the planter?

ANSWER:

We don't want to sound snobbish, but we really wish you hadn't bought your plant at a big box store. The bottom line is we have no idea what your plant is or what its growth habits will be. This plant could be a native of some other country, or grown in another state where they prospered and shipped here, where they won't. They almost undoubtedly are hybridized, which makes it harder still.

Botany.com has a long article on blackberries, from which you might try to figure out if your blackberry has tall, relatively stiff stems, which means it will need a supporting trellis or fence, or trails and roots in the soil, and could very well could be popping up all over your yard. There are many other berries, closely related, in the Rubus family. When we searched our own Native Plant Database on Rubus, we got 61 plant names back, of which 24 had "blackberry" in their common names. Of those 24, not a single one was shown to be either native to Texas or naturally distributed in Texas. In other words, they may not prosper here.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses its energies and attentions on plants native to North America, their preservation in their (unhybridized) natural state, and propagation. When you buy a "mystery" plant, you really have no way to predict if it will thrive or even live. At this point, it's probably going to have to be your decision whether to keep it in the pot, or try it in the ground. You could try leaving it in the pot for one more year and see what habits it develops.

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Native plants for poolside in Central Texas
August 21, 2010 - What native plants would your recommend for poolside landscaping, and poolside containers? Tons of sun and white limestone patio.. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants in an indoor space in Dallas
July 31, 2009 - Is there a native Texas plant that would be suited for an indoor application, such as large planters in a lobby space?
view the full question and answer

Hot Sunny Planter Suggestions for Florida
March 05, 2013 - We have a large, raised, concrete planter (about 15' L x 2' W) separating us from our condo neighbor in Clearwater, FL. We would like suggestions for shrubs that tolerate full sun and hot conditions...
view the full question and answer

Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
August 14, 2012 - Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plectranthus (native of South Africa) winter care and insects
September 26, 2007 - I was recently given a beautiful plant which is now in a pot in my yard. I live in Rochester, NY and need to know what to do with this plant in the fall. The plant is 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus p...
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