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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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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!

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Friday - June 11, 2010

From: El Cajon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Erosion Control, Groundcovers
Title: Replacing non-native iceplant in El Cajon CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Help! We are clearing fungus dead iceplant on a massive steep bank. Should I avoid replacing it with more iceplant? Would myaporum prostrate be a better option? Fast growing, erosion resistant, zero maintenance & minimal water usage are our goals.

ANSWER:

In our Native Plant Database, there is a plant. Verbesina virginica (white crownbeard), of which "iceplant" is one of its half a dozen common names, although it is commonly known as "Frostweed." 

We are pretty sure that is not the plant you are referring to, but rather a succulent, native to South Africa, Delosperma cooperi, also with the common name "iceplant." Since we do not deal in non-natives to North America, it will not appear in our Native Plant Database, but we found this site from Paghat's Garden, Delosperma cooperii that has some good information. 

From Arizona Wildflowers, this site on native to Australia Myoporum parvifolium has some pictures and information. 

Because these are both non-natives and also considered invasive, we really have no advice on which to use or why. Our suggestion is that you go to this page on groundcovers native to California from Las Pilitas Nursery, a wonderful resource for anyone who wishes to grow native in California. Since you are in San Diego CA, we believe they are relatively close to you, but you can also visit them online. 

 

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