En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Alternatives to non-native, invasive Pampa grass

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

Friday - August 11, 2006

From: Caribou, ME
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Alternatives to non-native, invasive Pampa grass
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Could you please tell me if Cortaderia Selloana is "zone 4" hardy? Also how to start Opuntia Humifusa from cuttings? Do I let them stand upright dry and with no soil until they form the callous? Please help! Thank You So Much! Janet

ANSWER:

Most references give USDA cold-hardiness zones 6 or 7 as the northern limit for Cortaderia selloana, Pampas grass. It might survive in your area if located in a protected spot, but it might be just as well for you if it won't. Many people who plant this South American native in their gardens end up regretting doing so because of its legendary aggressiveness - it tends to resist all efforts to control its relentless expansion.

You might consider some native alternatives which would be perfectly suited to your climate and are much less likely to cause headaches later on. Some possibilities are Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum; Indiangrass, Sorghastrum nutans and Canada wild rye, Elymus canadensis. All are stately grasses native to Maine.

The cactus you are asking about, Opuntia humifusa, Eastern prickly-pear is not native to your area either, and will likely need winter protection. They are easy to propagate, though. Just let the wound caused by seperating the pads dry for a few days and then insert the severed end in evenly moist, well-drained media. It should root within a few weeks. Here is a link to a great web page on cactus propagation which goes into more detail.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Repotting non-native Agave ghiesbreghtii from Spring TX
June 03, 2012 - I've recently purchased an Agave ghiesbreghtii, and will need to re-pot it soon. I have some cactus soil mix as well as a few rocks to put in the bottom of its new pot. There seem to be roots comi...
view the full question and answer

Blueberries and non-native squash in Fort Worth
April 15, 2010 - Blueberries in North Central Texas-Fort Worth In sun or shade? Got only male blossoms on my squash last year why?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Lavender Problem in Austin, TX
July 05, 2012 - I am having a problem with two of my lavender plants and was hoping I could send a photo of each to get your opinion. I've been growing rosemary and lavender successfully for quite sometime and am aw...
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native house plant, Pachira aquatica
October 14, 2007 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have just bought a miniature money tree. I would like to plant it on a metal like decorative pot. What advice would you give me how to prevent the plant from getting any metal re...
view the full question and answer

Dwarf evergreen heath plant from Norcross GA
February 01, 2010 - I was reading a book that mentioned a "dwarf evergreen heath plant and wondered if such a plant exist. It is suppose to have leathery leave blooms with white flowers that produce red berries used fo...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center