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?

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

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

Wednesday - July 04, 2012

From: lynnwood, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Green Roofs, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Kinnikinnick for a green roof
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and am a building official so can calc the loads. - tons! so (don't try this at home kids) - I don't like the weedy look of sedums so was thinking about Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. Kinnikinnick and need to know what depth of soil, if it might really grow on the warm windy roof - (it does rain here) - and maybe this plant could work.. thoughts?

ANSWER:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is an obvious prospect for a green roof.  Attractive, tolerates water-logging and drought, and found throughout the Pacific Northwest.  The problem is that it grows slowly and is not easily transplanted.  If you are planning to grow it for yourself it would seem best to start with cuttings or seed.  This web site gives information on propagation from seed, stem cuttings and root cuttings.  The Woodland Park Zoo tested Kinnikinnick on a green roof in 2006.  They found that it survived but only on slopes of less than 15%.  At greater slopes their growth medium (6 inches in depth) did not retain water well enough to prevent root drying.  Some details are given in a Masters degree thesis.  The Kinnikinnick plants were young and perhaps had not established an extensive root system.  I advise you to call ( (206) 548-2520) or drive to the zoo and find out more recent information.  Kinnikinnick has also been used on the Vancouver, BC, library roof.

Because of the widespread interest in green roofs improved planting media are always appearing. I found numerous potentially useful web sites in a Google search for "Green roof growth media, Pacific Northwest.  Kinnikinnick plants are available in Seattle area nurseries, e.g.,  the Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery and probably at some of the ones on this list.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for pergola in Lubbock TX
May 29, 2013 - I need suggestions of plants, vines, bushes to plant in my backyard near my wooden pergola that will work well in full sun in Lubbock, TX. Ideally, I'd like some that attract hummingbirds and provide...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Meadow for Poth, TX
January 22, 2014 - I recently cleared some underbrush from a virgin pasture, with large oaks and mesquites scattered through it, and was wondering if it was too late to plant wildflowers? If not, what varieties of wildf...
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive roots of Turks Cap in College Station TX
April 29, 2014 - I know people have asked you questions about propagating Turk's Cap, but my question is a little different. I have this plant growing in several locations, because I have a large garden with lots...
view the full question and answer

Need to plant something in the cracks in my patio in Skipperville, AL.
February 06, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a cement patio full of cracks. I would like to grow some sort of plant or plants in the cracks. I live in lower Alabama, and my patio is in full sunlight. Do you have an...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of Mexican Petunia in Chorpus Christi, TX
March 05, 2016 - What is the best way to get rid of unwanted Mexican Petunia that keeps spreading to unwanted areas of my flower beds?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center