Contact Us Host an Event 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
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

Non-native fountain grass for Edwardsburg MI
September 20, 2009 - I purchased a purple fountain grass by a vendor @ the Plymouth, IN blueberry festival. He told me that it is a perennial. I live in Edwardsburg, MI and I keep reading that in my area, they are consi...
view the full question and answer

Frost damage to Mexican palm and non-native Sago palm in Austin
February 01, 2010 - I have frost damage to the leaves on my mexican palm tree which is about 12 feet high. Can I cut back all of the damaged leaves and what month? Also, Sago palms have some frost damage on the upper...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow under elm tree in Amarillo TX
May 01, 2014 - I have a large elm tree and I can't get seem to get anything to grow under it. I was wondering if there are any shade-loving groundcovers that you would recommend (have tried English Ivy, hostas, an...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native plumeria in Inverness FL
October 05, 2009 - I have several plumeria plants that I planted in the ground this spring. I will soon need to dig them up and store them in the garage for the winter, as I left some last year that died with the frost...
view the full question and answer

Dying foliage on non-native Otto Luyken Laurel from Georgetown KY
April 09, 2014 - I have 5 luken laurel scrubs planted around foundation. They have done very well until this last winter..the foilage is now brown and crispy. Will they come back? Do I need to prune back the damage...
view the full question and answer

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