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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: Burlington, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native hosta and cedar tree in Burlington, ON
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Will hosta grow along side cedar trees, if planted at the same time?

ANSWER:

Sometimes before we answer a question, we have to be sure what is being asked. There are three different trees that are referred to as "cedars" and we're not sure which one you are interested in.The supposedly "true" cedar is of the genus Cedrus, of which Cedrus atlantica is an example. It is a native of the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa and has a USDA Plant Hardiness of Zones 6 to 9. The next tree often referred to as "cedar" is Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), which is native to North America and to Ontario. The third cedar is Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) which is also native to North America and to Ontario. This Tree Help.com website Cedar and Arborvitae compares the three in pictures.

Hostas are native to Japan, China and Korea, and therefore fall out of our area of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.  Because they do not appear in our Native Plant Database, we would like to refer you to this Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet on Growing Hostas.

What plant is next to another doesn't have as much to do with the interrelationship between those plants as with the appropriate growing conditions for each. If you are growing a "cedar" native to your area, then that tree is being grown in appropriate conditions. You will need to find out if the hosta, which is non-native, can grow in the same conditions to know whether they will prosper side by side.

 

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