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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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Sunday - June 20, 2010

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Eliminating gift plant from flowerbed
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

A neighbor gave me cuttings of a lush green plant with a blue flower with a yellow center that is only open in morning. It has become very invasive. I cut it back and dug at least 6-12" deep to get the roots but each day numerous little green sprouts are in my flowerbed. How can I get rid of tiny sprouts without killing my petunias and moss rose?

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Your description of the plant and the fact that it was a cutting from your neighbor would lead us to suspect that it isn't a plant native to North America.  However, we can give you a little advice about getting rid of it no matter what its nativity.  The approach that is the least likely to affect your other plants is to remove the roots of the troublesome plant.  If you don't dig down and remove all the roots, it is going to keep coming up again and again.  It may be a tough job, but that's what it is going to take.  You could also consider careful application of an herbicide.  You can try cutting the tips of the sprouts as they emerge and very carefully painting the cut ends with a small brush dipped in  herbicide.  You will need to be very careful not to get any of the herbicide on your other plants.  It is likely to take several applications to finally kill the roots.  Please be sure to read and observe all precautions on the herbicide label as well.

 

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