Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Friday - April 27, 2007

From: Vernon, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Alternatives to non-native heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Vernon, BC, Canada. I plan to put a heather plant in my garden, but my space is limited. I know that it will grow approx. 2 ft. high and that it likes well drained and acidic soil, but how much will it spread, and how long will it bloom? Will it become intrusive to other plants?

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise at the Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America. Calluna vulgaris, Scotch heather is an introduced species native to Europe and Asia. It is classified as invasive in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as in some parts of New Zealand and Australia. You will need to be diligent about keeping it under control.

Perhaps, instead of heather, you could consider a native plant with similar growth habit, such as:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Gaultheria shallon (salal)

Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel)

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry)

Phyllodoce empetriformis (pink mountainheath)

Spiraea splendens var. splendens (rose meadowsweet)


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Gaultheria shallon

Kalmia polifolia

Mahonia repens

Phyllodoce empetriformis

Spiraea splendens var. splendens
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Diseased non-native red tip photinias from Richmond VA
April 08, 2014 - Our red tip trees have a while substance on the bark at the base of each tree..look like some kind of fungus or mold, but we don't know how to get rid of it. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Nutgrass
September 12, 2008 - Hey Hi Barbara, I just read the information you gave about nut grass. I had wished for other options. Back to digging them out. Thanks for the information What about substituting cud zoo. S...
view the full question and answer

Failing to thrive of non-native rose bushes in Austin
September 24, 2012 - I live in NW Austin and I have lost one knockout rose bush this summer and it looks like another one is failing. The leaves on a cane turn yellow then brown. I do not see whiteflies or black spots o...
view the full question and answer

Wintering over of non-native Myriophyllum brasiliensis
October 27, 2008 - I have a Myriophyllum brasiliensis in my outdoor fountain which I drain in the cold weather. How can I keep the plant alive over the winter? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant ID of invasive vine from Austin
August 21, 2013 - A friend lives in southwest Austin and has a vine that's coming up all over her yard. I am a Williamson County Master Gardener and have asked all the garden gurus in my group what it is from a photo ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.