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

Muscari neglectum image
March 23, 2007 - I am doing a school project and found a native plant on the native plant information network image gallery. It is plant NPIN Image Id 524. What is it's name?
view the full question and answer

Planting conditions for non-native Oriental poppy in Colorado
May 14, 2009 - I live in Broomfield, CO. Is this a good time to plant oriental poppies, what is the best sun exposure and how should I prepare the soil?
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

Problems with azaleas
April 22, 2008 - Last summer I planted 10 evergreen Azaleas "Hino Crimson" I sprinkled a little rhody fertilizer in their holes before planting and gave them plenty of water all summer. They are all doing fine excep...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in California
May 02, 2012 - A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
view the full question and answer

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