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

Tuesday - April 13, 2010

From: Varna, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Eliminating Claytonia virginica in Varna IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do I get rid of or control Claytonia virginica? It is starting to take over my lawn.

ANSWER:

This is a toughie, because I was unable to find any negative comments on Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty), or ways to get rid of it. According to this USDA Plant Profile, it is native to just about all of Illinois, including Marshall County. You are in USDA Hardiness Zone 5a, which is well within the tolerance of Spring Beauty, hardy from Zones 2 to 9. We even have some growing in Travis County, where the Wildflower Center is located, but Central Texas is really not what I would call a cool, moist woodland. We found this site from Illinois Wildflowers Spring Beauty, which, again, had nothing but nice things to say about the plant, which grows from small potato-like corms. Dave's Garden, a garden forum, also had mostly positive comments on Claytonia virginica.

We really can't even recommend any sort or herbicide, because the use of it would threaten other plants around the ones you want to get rid of, but not put Spring Beauty into any particular danger because it can regrow from those corms in the ground. According to our page on this plant in our Native Plant Database: "Plant disappears from above ground shortly after the seed capsules have ripened but does not leave a large gap in the garden." Speaking from very hot and dry Texas, we would think it would be lovely to have flowers beginning to bloom in the depths of Winter, and then disappearing until next year.

In view of the way the plant propagates itself, we would recommend first that you mow the lawn pretty low while these flowers are blooming, both preventing the re-seeding and also denying the nourishment of the leaves to the corms below ground. Second, if you don't want it in your flower beds, digging out that corm, which is about 3" deep, and continuing to do so until it gives up and starves is about the best bet. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Bluebonnets emerging early after cool, wet spring
August 20, 2007 - Typically I see bluebonnet seedlings begin to erupt in the early Fall. But this year, I began to see seedlings almost immediately after my crop went to seed. In fact, it is now early August and I ha...
view the full question and answer

Healthy native plants supporting local economy from Tacoma Park MD
February 17, 2012 - I am collecting information on how healthy native plant communities can support the local economy. Do you think the Texas bluebonnets are a good example of this in Texas? For example, do you know ma...
view the full question and answer

Best planting time for wildflower seeds in Texas
September 08, 2006 - My husband bought a large amount of wildflower seeds at the Ladybird Johnson's Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas several months ago, but neglected to ask when to plant them. Some were Bluebonnets a...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower driving tours
April 07, 2003 - Where can I learn about wildflower driving tours in the hill country area?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
June 09, 2013 - Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking f...
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