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 - March 20, 2012

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Propagation, Problem Plants, Vines
Title: Controlling Passionflora Incarnata propagation
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Would a cinderblock raised bed, 8 inches in height, be sufficient to contain the roots of passiflora incarnata and keep them from traveling to places where I don't want the vine? Are the roots deeper than 8 inches?

ANSWER:

No, not quite deep enough.  Mr Smarty Plants had quite a search to try and get some real data on Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower) and its root system!

Its real clear from the regular stuff one finds on the web that it propagates via roots and a couple similar techniques.  This article from TAMU notes air-layering and root propagation.  They considered that mowing was sufficient to keep the vine under control.  On the  other hand, this comment from a garden forum claimed really long distances.  

But - Mr Smarty Plants hit the gold mine with a proper scientific paper on the subject!  

Weed Science. 1985. Volume 33:484-490 "Reproductive Biology and Herbicidal Sensitivity of Maypop Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)" by  WEHTJE, REED, and DUTE.

Two bits of information caught my eye.  They noted:  "Sections taken from the horizontal axes were within 30 cm of the soil surface, which constitute the primary means of reinfestation."  [30cm is quite close to a foot]  and the first figure in the paper was of the "Root system of maypop passionflower at the end of one year's growth from a seedling." This figure showed new growth emerging from the ~30cm area measured from the surface and 170cm [5 1/2 feet!] as it's longest extent [in depth].

To my mind, you can probably reduce your control efforts quite a bit with a raised bed, but not totally.  If you are willing to do a little bit of controling and/or mowing outside your raised beds then you probably can keep it where you want it!

 

 

From the Image Gallery




Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

More Problem Plants Questions

Invasive thistles in wildflower field from Dripping Springs TX
February 17, 2014 - How to get rid of "native" thistles.. I have a large natural field that used to grow a variety of wildflowers, but in 2011 and 2012 it was taken over by thistles. I'm sure they are "native" Texas...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

How to control Yellow Woodsorrel in Habiturf?
March 19, 2013 - Last year we planted Habiturf in our front lawn and prepared the ground as directed with organic compost. This year we have an infestation of low growing yellow oxalis which we believe came in with t...
view the full question and answer

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
view the full question and answer

Eradication of invasive thistles in Parma OH
July 11, 2010 - Lawn is full of prickly weeds with very deep roots. May be called Scotch Thistle, although id is not confirmed. They will grow as tall as they can amid other plants, and when mowed in the lawn, they...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center