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

Tuesday - December 08, 2009

From: Temecula, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Replacement for non-native wisteria in Temecula CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently moved into a house that has a Wisteria bush that has taken over the patio cover. I wish to take it out because it is so messy and looks bad when it is dormant. I am trying to figure out an alternative that is a bit cleaner and stays green year round. An added bonus would be one that attracts birds and butterflies. The ground is dry and it will get full sun. Thanks for any guidance you can give me

ANSWER:

There is a wisteria, Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), native to North America that is very attractive and not nearly so invasive as the Asian wisteria, or Wisteria sinense, which is probably what you have. Unfortunately, that native wisteria grows no further west than Texas, and would not do well in California. In the western edge of Riverside County, near the border with Mexico, you are going to need plants that are semi-tropical in nature. You did not say if you wanted a shrub or a vine for your patio cover, so we will look for both in our Recommended Species for Southern California. Unfortunately, we did not find a single evergreen vine native to Southern California, so hopefully some of the flowering evergreen shrubs we found will suit your purposes. Follow the links on each plant to find out more about its habits, wildlife attractions and light requirements.

Shrubs for Southern California:

Arctostaphylos hookeri (Hooker's manzanita) - 2 to 4 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, pink February to April, attracts birds, nectar source

Carpenteria californica (tree anemone) - 4 to 8 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, yellow April to July, fragrant flowers

Ceanothus velutinus (snowbrush ceanothus) - 3 to 5 ft., evergreen, blooms white April to August, attracts butterflies

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil) - 3 to 4 ft., evergreen, blooms yellow June to September, attracts butterflies

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) - 6 to 8 ft., evergreen, blooms white June to September, birds eat berries

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos hookeri

Carpenteria californica

Ceanothus velutinus

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Heteromeles arbutifolia

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Will frozen non-native agapanthus come back from freeze in Austin?
February 06, 2011 - I don't know if its a native plant, but my agapanthus got frozen in our recent cold weather. Will they come back; should I trim off the tops?
view the full question and answer

Ridding property of Dichelostemma Firecracker Plant from Cleburne TX
April 11, 2012 - How do we get rid of Dichelostemma-Firecracker plant? It has invaded our yard & we hate it! How do we kill it?
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native false aralia (Schefflera elegantissima)
September 02, 2009 - Hi. I have a False Aralia-8 stalks. Have had for a while and recently it has begun (and for the first time) dropping leaves. The stalks are getting pretty barren. I know the genreal care for the...
view the full question and answer

Can bougainvillea be grown in Las Cruces, NM?
May 05, 2010 - Can bougainvillea be grown in Las Cruces, NM?
view the full question and answer

Non-native pistacio problem Rockwall, TX.
July 02, 2014 - I have an eight year old Pistacio tree that has leaves turning brown and falling off. It is June! Why?
view the full question and answer

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