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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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Tuesday - February 07, 2012

From: Irving, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Planting time for non-natives in Irving TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Have dwarf nandinas and two lorapetalums that I want to transplant. Can I do it now February 6th 2012?

ANSWER:

Actually, you have reached a wrong number. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown.

Lorapetalum, Lorapetalum chinense, is native to the Hunan province of China. We always suspect anything with the words "China," "Chinese" or "Chinense" in their names; they are not only non-native but many are invasive.

While Nandina domestica, known as Nandina or Heavely Bamboo, does not have a reference to China in its name, it is native to eastern Asia from the Himalayas to Japan. It is very invasive, spread by wildlife (who eat the berries and deposit the seeds) as well as underground rhizomes, as this article from the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants on Nandina domestica will tell you. You also should read the 15 negative comments from the forum Dave's Garden has on Nandina.

So, if you were considering purchasing these two plants, we would discourage it, and recommend some natives shrubs, instead. But as you said you wished to transplant them, we are assuming you already have them. Particularly in the case of nandina, we would far rather you spread them no further but, since you ask, woody shrubs and trees are best transplanted while they are dormant in the coldest part of the year, but you probably could still do so in February,

 

 

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