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

Monday - May 18, 2009

From: Portsmouth, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native lilac in a pot in New Hampshire
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in an apartment with a balcony that gets morning sun but is in the shade by 3 pm. Can I plant a lilac in a pot? What perennial would do well in New Hampshire? I love lilacs and would like to have a lilac on the balcony. HELP!!

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Plants accustomed to the climate, rainfall and soil of an area will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Syringa vulgaris, common lilac, is native to southeastern Europe and therefore out of our range of expertise.However, a probably more compelling reason for you not to plant a lilac in a pot on your balcony is that a lilac bush is just way too big. They can grow to 8 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 12 feet wide. Worse, they only bloom about 2 weeks in the Spring. 

Without the protection of being in the ground, the roots of a potted plant are very susceptible to freezing and you likely don't have room to bring your pots in during the winter to keep them in dormancy. We would recommend that you go to a nursery and ask for advice on what they have that will accept your planting conditions. They probably won't be native plants but since it's unlikely that potted plants on a deck will escape cultivation and invade native habitats, we doubt that is a problem. 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Use of non-native pothos for outside wall from Las Vegas NV
January 05, 2014 - I am in Las Vegas, NV. I live in a cottage-style apartment so I have a north facing porch with no one on the west so I get some there (and have an inherited cactus probably a yard all round) I would ...
view the full question and answer

Growing kudzu in Las Vegas NV
April 18, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about a known invasive species that I know you advise against, but I feel my situation may be different enough that it's worth asking about. Yes, I'm talk...
view the full question and answer

Can non-native coleus grow in mulch from San Antonio
May 12, 2013 - Can Coleus plants grow in Mulch only?
view the full question and answer

Will native plants become invasive from Grapevine TX
February 23, 2013 - Main Question - I want to convert my front and back yards into a native plant sanctuary but worry about if these plants growing out of control/invasive and if neighbors will complain about these "wee...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native oxblood lilies from Austin
March 27, 2014 - My Oxblood Lilies flowered quite late last Fall. Their foliage is still very green. Can I cut it down now or do I have to wait until it goes brown?
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