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?


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

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


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?


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 Vines Questions

Cow-itch vine name from Seguin TX
July 02, 2012 - How did Cow-Itch Vine (Cissus incisa / Cissus trifoliata) get its name?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on teddy bear vine
April 13, 2005 - I am looking for a plant called teddy bear vine. The scientific name is Cyanotis kewensis. I had one a long time ago (20+ years) and I loved it, but I can't find another one or find out whe...
view the full question and answer

Will Virginia creeper harm brick walls in Las Vegas NM
May 19, 2013 - Will Virginia creeper harm brick walls in Las Vegas, New Mexico?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vines for the Texas Hill Country
January 17, 2015 - What are the best fast-growing vines for our Hill Country location? The vine will be growing on a stucco wall, so we don't want the vine to grow into the stucco and destroy it. Location has morning ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with red berries in Weatherford, Texas
October 17, 2014 - I have found a vine with red berries that I would appreciate an ID for. How can I send you a photo or two of it?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center