Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Thursday - August 17, 2006

From: Nottingham, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Suggestions for alternatives to invasive, non-native English ivy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can English ivy be planted in a pot, kept oudoors, and expected to endure our Maryland winters?

ANSWER:

English ivy (Hedera helix) is native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa and is considered invasive in at least 18 U. S. states. We are not enthusiastic about giving advice to propagate non-natives given that: "The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes." Nonetheless, English ivy is very cold hardy and would probably survive Maryland winters in a pot outdoors; and, it would probably do no harm as long as you were careful to remove any blossoms and/or seeds and kept it where none of the foliage could come in contact with the ground to take root.

If you are looking for a a hardy evergreen plant for the Maryland outdoor winters, the Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) and Cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) would be good native substitutes. If you are looking for a vine, not necessarily evergreen, Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) and the native American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) would be good choices for Maryland.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Mosquito problem from Mesa AZ
April 07, 2014 - We have a mosquito problem in our backyard, I think they're grass Mosquitos. I wanted to get lemongrass for a deterrent but both nurseries were out so I opted for rosemary. They're ALL OVER the rose...
view the full question and answer

Avoiding planting Indian Paintbrush in Hawaii because of invasiveness
March 01, 2007 - My daughter is living in Hilo, Hawaii. For her birthday, her boyfriend ordered her some Indian Paintbrush seeds. Trying to be sure she grows them correctly in a pot, she found instructions that say ...
view the full question and answer

Leaf loss on non-native Elaeocarpus decipiens
July 01, 2008 - Hello, I had my landscaper plant Japanese Blueberry bushes over the winter along my fence to act as a privacy screen. Their long, narrow and full evergreen characteristics are ideal for creating priv...
view the full question and answer

Short, Natural Evergreen Shrubs for Texas
March 12, 2015 - I am looking for small/dwarf evergreen shrubs that, when mature, will be no larger than three feet tall. If possible I would like shrubs that are graceful and more natural looking rather than ôregimen...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

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