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
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

Small area native plant gardening for an apartment
November 14, 2008 - Mr.Smarty, We live in an apartment and are fortunate to have a small area, 5'x5', and so want color! Here in Houston the winters don't freeze much and the summers are HOT. Luckily, we are in the ...
view the full question and answer

Maximilian sunflowers in a container in Pflugerville, TX
April 26, 2010 - Can Maximilian sunflowers be grown in a container? How deep and wide would it need to be? Am considering growing them in a stock tank elevated on bricks, with drain holes.
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

Failure to thrive of closet plant
August 13, 2008 - I have a closet plant that is old and was doing fine and then started having droopy leaves. It needed to be in a larger pot so I transplanted into a larger pot with new potting soil. It continues to...
view the full question and answer

Replanting a blue agave in Rio Rancho NM
January 11, 2010 - I have acquired a Blue Agave, approximately 4-5 ft high. It still appears quite healthy. It was used over the holiday season for display purposes in a liquor store. Unfortunately, the root ball has be...
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