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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 27, 2006

From: Oneonta, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Varieties of lupines that will grow in Zone 7, Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have just found you and read 500 plus questions, fascinated. My question concerns plants in Alabama, is there a variety of lupine that will grow is zone 7, sun or shade? Also, we purchased acreage that had been farmed and is very loamy we have abundant VOLES. Do you have any suggestion on how to get rid of them? We have used moth balls, have mixed castor oil with kitty litter. It seems that there are less but would like to make sure they travel far. The have cut some plants off at the base. Thanks for such a great site.

ANSWER:

Thank you for the kind words about our site.

Sundial Lupine (Lupinus perennis) is your best bet for Alabama and Hardiness Zone 7. There are three other species—Skyblue Lupine (L. cumulicola), Skyblue Lupine (L. diffusus), and Lady Lupine (L. villosus)—that grow in Alabama but they are more suited to Hardiness Zone 8 and above and would be marginal in Zone 7.

Do you have voles (Microtus spp.) or moles (Scalopus spp.)?

If you have voles, they like other rodents (such as rats and mice) need four conditions to be met to succeed: an abundance of food, ready availability of water, good shelter, and limited pressure from predators. If those four conditions are favorable, little can be done to limit their populations. However, changes in any one of the "big four" conditions that are unfavorable to rodents will soon reduce populations. Limiting their shelter areas is usually the most effective method of controlling their numbers. The University of California Davis Integrated Pest Management in their article, "Pests in Gardens and Landscaptes: Voles (Meadow Mice", offers more suggestions for controlling voles.

Moles are insectivores and do not feed on plants but can damage plants by tunneling through the roots and disrupting them. About the only effective way to control moles is by trapping them. Ohio State University Extension has an article, "Effective Mole Control", with more information and suggestions.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Thinning and culling wildflower seed mix plants
May 11, 2015 - Wildflower garden in central Oklahoma I sowed a (mostly) native wildflower mixture in early November here in my Zone 7A Edmond, OK garden. To my surprise, many of the seeds (I'm guessing annuals)...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers planted in Pittsfield, IL to bloom the first of October
July 01, 2010 - If I plant my wildflower seeds now in Illinois, is it possible they will bloom in three months (by the very beginning of October)?
view the full question and answer

Favorite Wildflower
July 31, 2011 - Dear Green Guru - What are your favorite wildflowers? Signed Curious
view the full question and answer

Shady Groundcovers for NC
April 23, 2015 - I have a side yard that gets very little sun during the day and have tried St. Augustine grass unsuccessfully. Can you recommend a groundcover? We live close to the coast in Southeastern N. Carolina...
view the full question and answer

Grass in mixed wildflowers in Gloucester VA
September 02, 2009 - I have a acre of mixed wildflowers which is in its 3rd season. I now have some grass issues. I have sprayed for just the grass but still have too much. Should I bush hog, disk and replant ??
view the full question and answer

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