Rent Shop 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

Protecting a non-native Meyer Lemon from Freezing in Austin
January 05, 2013 - What is the best way to protect my Meyer Lemon tree from freezing Austin weather? It has been planted in my yard for 1 year and is about 4 feet high
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chamaedorea cataractarum question from Somerset MA
February 12, 2010 - I have a Chamaedorea Cataractarum palm and I was wondering what a clumping palm is. From what part of the plant do the new fronds emerge? Was trying to look all over the web but can't find it. If you...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of non-native lilac in Plymouth MD
July 18, 2009 - My five year old lilacs are not blooming, WHY?
view the full question and answer

Red berry that changes the taste of other foods
January 15, 2013 - Hi, your site is fantastic. I heard from a friend that he tried a red berry in Florida which when eaten change the taste of other foods eaten afterwards. He ate a lemon after trying that berry and th...
view the full question and answer

Correct spelling of Passiflora caerulea
August 07, 2007 - What is correct, passiflora coerulea or caerulea ?
view the full question and answer

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