Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 - April 25, 2013

From: Manassas, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Non-native daylilies for steep hill in Manassas VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would like to plant steep hill w perennial flowering plants like daylily. The daylily farm said this would work great but not sure if we should lay landscaping fabric and poke through holes to plant daylilys or just plant amongst existing grass growth Don't really want to create additional erosion by removing grass/weeds before replanting. I saw your post about planting grasses but I prefer flowers if possible.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally; in your case, Prince William County, VA. Daylilies, once erroneously placed in the Liliaceae family of plants, now are considered to be in the Hemerocallis family. They are native to Eurasia - China, Japan and Korea - and are therefore out of our line of expertise. From the Univesity of Minnesota Extension Service, here is an article on Growing Daylilies. We understand there are many thousands of cultivars and selections of this plant, perennials which bloom one day, in the nursery trade, but beyond that, we know nothing about them.

However, we can talk about erosion; we don't know specifically which one you read but we have many previous answers on ways to control slopes. We saw a reference to the use of daylilies on a slope to control erosion because the roots reproduced, creating a network of roots which helped to hold soil on a slope, but we can't answer your question about landscaping cloth. Since we have no personal experience with it, we went looking for other information and found this funny article from North Coast Gardening Why I Hate Landscape Cloth. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on controlling erosion which includes further links to still other previous answers in various spots on the East Coast, including one from Virginia. We still prefer grasses with their long fibrous roots for erosion on a slope, but there are not many flowering plants that will have that sort of root.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Something eating holes in Texas Betony from Austin
June 06, 2012 - What pest is eating holes in the leaves of my Texas Betonys? They look healthy but almost all leaves have various sizes of round holes in them. What is the best cure for this? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Arlington TX
February 10, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I just moved to Arlington, TX. I am trying to create a container garden on my apartment balcony. What flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit combinations can I put together that wil...
view the full question and answer

Gaura dying from Townsville, Australia
September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
view the full question and answer

Removal of previously-planted perennials
July 23, 2008 - HI I JUST MOVED INTO A NEW HOUSE THIS YEAR THE PREVIOUS OWNERS PLANTED A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL PERENNIALS BUT I WANTED TO PLANT OVER ONE OF THE PERENNIALS THAT I REALLY DO NOT CARE FOR. IS THAT POSSIBLE? I...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with native plants in Austin
October 06, 2005 - I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
view the full question and answer

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