Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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
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

Will roots of non-native Bottlebrush damage foundation in Weslaco TX
April 02, 2011 - I have a bottle Brush tree planted 2 feet from a brick wall. The condo board told me to remove it for fear that it may crack the foundation of the wall. I don't want to remove it. I believe they are ...
view the full question and answer

Moving School House lilies in Austin
March 02, 2009 - I live here in Austin in zipcode 78729. I have a clump of School House lilies in the back of the garden. I would like to move them to another bed under a tree. Is this a good time to move them? Should...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bougainvillea annual or perennial in Las Vegas?
April 04, 2010 - Are bouganvilleas annual or perianneal plants? What do you do w/them in the winter time. We live in Las Vegas NV
view the full question and answer

Mowing wildflower concerns from Lockhart TX
March 30, 2012 - I went to the Texas Highway Department (Texas Department of Transportation) web site and sent them a concern or complaint about them or independent contractors shredding the roadsides before the blueb...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Jasmine trachelospermum jasminoides in Utah
June 08, 2008 - 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 st...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.