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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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Thursday - February 26, 2009

From: Pasadena, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native creeping fig
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I like the creeping fig that covers my brick wall but the roots are very invasive and are choking my rose bushes and other surrounding plants. I spent two days removing the roots and loosening the soil. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Ficus pumila is a native of Japan's southern islands, eastern China and Vietnam and therefore not in our Native Plant Database. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the planting and protection of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. When you asked us for suggestions, our suggestion would be to get rid of the creeping fig. Or at least choose between it and the other plants that are sharing the same space. The Ficus pumila, as indicated in this Floridata website, is very aggressive and can climb right over competing plants. It climbs by exuding a sticky substance that helps it adhere to surfaces, and should absolutely be kept away from wooden walls or structures as the sticky substance can damage the wood.
 

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