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 Invasive Plants Questions

Conversion of patch of bermuda grass to native perennial garden in Texas
March 20, 2006 - My wife and I want to take a section of our front lawn that is currently in Bermuda grass and plant some native perennials with lots of flowers. The area will be a quarter-circle in a corner of the la...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive creeping fig in Webster TX
May 26, 2013 - We've recently moved into a new home in the southeast Houston area. The back of our property has a long concrete wall (gets quite a bit of sun), which we thought we could cover with a spreading vine....
view the full question and answer

Is it OK to plant Huisache in southern California?
June 15, 2009 - We have a wonderful huisache growing on a very dry rocky/dusty slope. It has now sprouted babies and we are delighted because we have room for several more on this slope. I have some room on our front...
view the full question and answer

How to eliminate Sawgrass from a small lake in Lindale, TX?
February 23, 2015 - We live on a small acre lake (about 65 acres) and the majority of the lake is surrounded by what the locals are calling saw grass. From the description on the website, I believe they are correct. The...
view the full question and answer

What is causing leaf drop on oak in Morgan Hill CA?
June 23, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants: We have a large, young Valley Oak (about 20 yrs) which is dropping leaves even now in early summer. I have a feeling that the problem might be an invasive weed that is flourishi...
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