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?


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
2 ratings

Sunday - June 08, 2008

From: Salt Lake City, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Jasmine trachelospermum jasminoides in Utah
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Bought (4) Star Jasmine trachelospermum jasminoides at Costco. Want to use them in Salt Lake City, UT, brutal winters, on a fence in a retail center parking lot surrounded by trees. Will the leaves stay intact and keep a color through the winter? (thanks)


Sigh. This is the sort of question we get ever so often when we wonder "Why didn't they ask this question before they bought/planted/lost the plant in question?" And the other question we'd like to ask is how the big box, non-nursery stores that sell plants, probably grown in California, that are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 8a (ave. min. temp. 10- 15 deg. F) to 11 (above 40 deg. F), can sell those in places that are Zone 4b (-25 to -20 deg F.) to 5b (-20 to -15 deg F.)? Salt Lake City, in north central Utah, is Zone 4b, surrounded by Zone 5a. In answer to your question, not only will the leaves not stay intact and keep color through the winter, but the plants will probably be dead by the first of November.

Just for your general information, here is a Floridata website about Trachelospermum jasminoides, Star Jasmine or Confederate Jasmine.

We're sorry you spent the money, but at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are committed to promoting the use of plants native to the area in which they are grown, and always native to North America. In the first place, if a plant is native to your area, you don't have to worry about hardiness zones. Beyond that, natives are good for the environment because they consume less water, fertilizer and maintenance.

As a consolation prize, we'd like to offer you some plants native to (and hardy in) Utah. The herbs (herbaceous plants) will not keep color through the winter; in fact, they will probably die to the ground, but will come up in the Spring. Three of the shrubs are evergreen, one deciduous. If you are interested in native plants for your location, go to our Suppliers section, type in your city and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape professionals in your general area.


Arnica cordifolia (heartleaf arnica)

Heuchera parvifolia (littleleaf alumroot)

Heuchera rubescens (pink alumroot)

Mirabilis multiflora (Colorado four o'clock)


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) - evergreen

Ceanothus velutinus (snowbrush ceanothus) - evergreen

Lonicera involucrata (twinberry honeysuckle) - deciduous

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry) - evergreen

Arnica cordifolia

Heuchera parvifolia

Heuchera rubescens

Mirabilis multiflora

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Ceanothus velutinus

Lonicera involucrata

Mahonia repens




More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native Ixora
April 22, 2009 - I have 3 Ixoras I planted last summer and they did beautifully -- then Ike visted us. All the other plants in that garden have recovered and look beautiful, but the ixoras still look ill. No new gro...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

Sheet mulching before planting Habiturf from Grand Prairie, TX
March 03, 2014 - Have you tried sheet mulching as a bed prep and to kill bermuda grass before planting habituff?
view the full question and answer

Eradicating non-native pyracantha bushes in California
August 26, 2008 - We removed several pyracantha bushes but they keep coming up in other parts of the garden. How do we kill the shoots? Thank you for any help
view the full question and answer

Tree roots under concrete from Ft. Worth TX
February 10, 2013 - We bought a house that has 2 trees (I believe ornamental pear trees) within a concrete patio. I found info that said basically, remove the concrete. We can't do that now (although I have encouraged...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center