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

Tuesday - December 08, 2009

From: Temecula, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Replacement for non-native wisteria in Temecula CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently moved into a house that has a Wisteria bush that has taken over the patio cover. I wish to take it out because it is so messy and looks bad when it is dormant. I am trying to figure out an alternative that is a bit cleaner and stays green year round. An added bonus would be one that attracts birds and butterflies. The ground is dry and it will get full sun. Thanks for any guidance you can give me

ANSWER:

There is a wisteria, Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), native to North America that is very attractive and not nearly so invasive as the Asian wisteria, or Wisteria sinense, which is probably what you have. Unfortunately, that native wisteria grows no further west than Texas, and would not do well in California. In the western edge of Riverside County, near the border with Mexico, you are going to need plants that are semi-tropical in nature. You did not say if you wanted a shrub or a vine for your patio cover, so we will look for both in our Recommended Species for Southern California. Unfortunately, we did not find a single evergreen vine native to Southern California, so hopefully some of the flowering evergreen shrubs we found will suit your purposes. Follow the links on each plant to find out more about its habits, wildlife attractions and light requirements.

Shrubs for Southern California:

Arctostaphylos hookeri (Hooker's manzanita) - 2 to 4 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, pink February to April, attracts birds, nectar source

Carpenteria californica (tree anemone) - 4 to 8 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, yellow April to July, fragrant flowers

Ceanothus velutinus (snowbrush ceanothus) - 3 to 5 ft., evergreen, blooms white April to August, attracts butterflies

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil) - 3 to 4 ft., evergreen, blooms yellow June to September, attracts butterflies

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) - 6 to 8 ft., evergreen, blooms white June to September, birds eat berries

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos hookeri

Carpenteria californica

Ceanothus velutinus

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Heteromeles arbutifolia

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging bloom on non-native Batwing Erythrina
July 18, 2007 - Hi! I have a Batwing Erythrina in the ground next to my driveway in full sun in Houston. It's nine years old and is about twenty feet tall, but it does not bloom. What can I do? Thanks for your s...
view the full question and answer

Information about ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis)
May 06, 2008 - I recently planted some Carpobrotus edulis, Ice plant, and wanted to know if I can mulch or put stones around the entire garden and plants. They are a ground cover plant.
view the full question and answer

Dying non-native red tip photinias in Lexington NC
June 27, 2009 - Large Red Tip bushes, what can I do to keep them alive? I have a few and they are dying. What can I do to save them?
view the full question and answer

Is non-native palm tree poisonous from Midland TX
March 25, 2011 - Are palm trees poisonous? My husband is a landscaper and was trimming palm trees at work and when he was cutting them down it fell on him and he has scratches on his arm and one got caught on his arm...
view the full question and answer

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