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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Wednesday - July 16, 2014

From: Boca Raton, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Problem Plants, Vines
Title: cultivating the invasive Passiflora incense
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hello! I have been collecting passiflora for a while now, recently I purchased a "P. Incarnata" from a local nursery where I have gotten a few other species to grow along my herb garden recently. Not only has it turned out to be super invasive (i have seen sprouts up to 2 houses away, not to mention all threw my garden) I was also just told recently that its not even an incarnata, it is a P. Incense..I love the flowers and all the butterflies but this is rediculous, its consuming everything. I had been just pulling them up by root but it doesnt seem to be stopping them from shooting up. Are there any other hazards with this species? I have several animals including a tortoise that tends to eat on the adventurous side (my vegetable garden) and are the fruits and flowers edible? Like with the incarnata. Such a waste to destroy these pretty flowers!. Thanks for your help and time -Susan Q.

ANSWER:

Don't worry, your tortoise and other creatures are safe.  The P. incense flowers and fruit are not poisonous. This website gives tips about cultivation.  Keeping P. incense within bounds is a difficult challenge.  You could try surrounding each plant by a circle of metal flowerbed edging sunk in the ground to about 6 inches.  Or you could transplant  into a large plastic plant pot after cutting its bottom out and burying it up to its lip in the ground.  That way the runners will not be able to escape the base of the plant.

 

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