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

Thursday - April 25, 2013

From: Manassas, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Non-native daylilies for steep hill in Manassas VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Would like to plant steep hill w perennial flowering plants like daylily. The daylily farm said this would work great but not sure if we should lay landscaping fabric and poke through holes to plant daylilys or just plant amongst existing grass growth Don't really want to create additional erosion by removing grass/weeds before replanting. I saw your post about planting grasses but I prefer flowers if possible.


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally; in your case, Prince William County, VA. Daylilies, once erroneously placed in the Liliaceae family of plants, now are considered to be in the Hemerocallis family. They are native to Eurasia - China, Japan and Korea - and are therefore out of our line of expertise. From the Univesity of Minnesota Extension Service, here is an article on Growing Daylilies. We understand there are many thousands of cultivars and selections of this plant, perennials which bloom one day, in the nursery trade, but beyond that, we know nothing about them.

However, we can talk about erosion; we don't know specifically which one you read but we have many previous answers on ways to control slopes. We saw a reference to the use of daylilies on a slope to control erosion because the roots reproduced, creating a network of roots which helped to hold soil on a slope, but we can't answer your question about landscaping cloth. Since we have no personal experience with it, we went looking for other information and found this funny article from North Coast Gardening Why I Hate Landscape Cloth. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on controlling erosion which includes further links to still other previous answers in various spots on the East Coast, including one from Virginia. We still prefer grasses with their long fibrous roots for erosion on a slope, but there are not many flowering plants that will have that sort of root.


More Non-Natives Questions

Native or non-native hibiscus for Kansas
August 13, 2005 - I recently purchased a 10" Hibiscus flowering plant and would like to know how to care for it. How much water and sunlight does it need and how long I can expect it to live? It is a beautiful plant a...
view the full question and answer

Trees for shade in Austin
May 20, 2012 - I live in Austin and I am looking for a good tree to plant under a large live oak I have in my backyard. Something slow-growing of course and, the garden only gets late day sun for about an hour. Filt...
view the full question and answer

Looking for Mimosa pudica plants in Austin, TX.
March 10, 2012 - Where can I buy a Mimosa pudica plant in or near Austin? I don't want seeds, but a few small actual plants. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Fertilizer for non-native Althea in West Monroe LA
July 12, 2010 - What type of fertilizer is best for Althea Bushes
view the full question and answer

Need some help with my Mexican Bush Sage in Rockport, TX.
July 07, 2011 - My Mexican bush sage looks leggy,ratty and sparse. It's planted in full sun and was cut back to the ground in early spring. My soil is sand and I've watered it sparingly as we've had no rain. I'm...
view the full question and answer

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