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

What is the name of the Texas Wildflower that smells like grape koolaid?
March 28, 2014 - Can you tell me the name of the Texas wildflower that smells like grape koolaid? I live in north west Texas and every spring, the low growing purple flowers line spots along the roadside. It's a joy ...
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

Indian Paintbrush outnumbering our Bluebonnets this year.
May 26, 2015 - We noticed we have more Indian paintbrush than bluebonnets in our front yard this year. Our issue is we also have more spear grass than normal. Is there a way to control this grass without killing th...
view the full question and answer

Interested in planting wildflowers in the area of Paige, TX.
November 02, 2010 - Interested in planting wildflowers in the area of Paige, TX.
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in pots in New Caney, TX
April 25, 2009 - My mother in New Caney (Texas), would like to plant Bluebonnets in some lovely terra cotta containers on her porch (and will hopefully mail me some dried pressings of my beloved state flower). Other t...
view the full question and answer

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