En Español

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

Saturday - April 02, 2011

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Will non-native Alchemilla mollis grow in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

While living in Connecticut I had a favorite plant -- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis). Any chance I could grow it in my new herbaceous border in Sun City Texas (Georgetown, TX)?

ANSWER:

We wouldn't bet on it. In fact, this particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team tried it, over and over, in our garden in Arlington, TX. We had been reading too many books and articles about English gardens and were very excited when we found it in a local nursery. This was before we began volunteering with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which the plants grow natively. Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle) is native to Turkey and the Carpathian Mountains; therefore, we have no information on it in our Native Plant Database.

There is good reason for restricting your gardening to plants native to your area-they are already accustomed by centuries of experience to the local rainfall (and lack of same), temperatures and soils. This article from the University of Vermont Extension says the plant is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones of 4 to 7. Georgetown, TX is in Zone 8b. You might be able to purchase it in local nurseries, but just because something is sold locally doesn't mean it will grow locally. You could spend a lot of resources, like water, money and hard work obtaining and planting something that just isn't going to survive. We did see some warnings that it could be invasive, but we don't think there is any danger of that in Texas.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Edibility of non-native garlic sprouts from Brancburg, NJ
March 12, 2013 - I have regular garlic in my refrigerator. It had sprouts growing out of it so I put it in a cup of water. Now that the stems are large enough to put in food, my question is.. Is that part of the garl...
view the full question and answer

Insects on hybrid 'Ann' magnolia in Morrow OH
June 17, 2010 - I have an Ann Magnolia. It is covered in all kinds of stinging insects and flies. This has never happened before. Is this a common problem for the tree? What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of giant ragweed in Austin
October 25, 2008 - How can I get rid of a large field of giant ragweed? Part of the site is a steep slope, which is difficult to mow. I want to encourage native grasses but they are crowded out by the ragweed.
view the full question and answer

Cultivation of non=native Brugmansia sanquinea
January 04, 2006 - I have had an Angel Trumpet since spring 2004, I keep it indoors in about 5 hours of sun a day. It is about 5 feet tall and was loaded with leaves. At Christmas time I had to move it from the front wi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center