En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 04, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Xeriscapes, Planting, Trees
Title: Appropriate use of redbud from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am considering purchasing a hearts of gold redbud; I am also xeriscaping my front yard. I live in Austin,TX. Will this tree do ok in full Tx sun (8+ hours) with once a week watering? If this tree is not optimal, can you suggest similar flowering trees that will handle these conditions better.

ANSWER:

This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) grows natively in Travis County, so of course we would consider that optimal.

However, from this Plant Finder from Missouri Botanical Garden, we learn that there is a Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) which has a trade name of 'Hearts of Gold." Again going to the USDA Plant Profile Map, this time on Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud),  it still grows natively in Travis County, so you're okay on that point.

Follow this plant link, Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud), to our webpage on that plant, where you will find these Growing Conditions:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, fertile, well-drained soils."

So, first, you need to determine if you have a good shade (2 hours or less of sun a day) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun) to put your new plant. But the most important thing is not where but when to plant a woody plant. That 8+ hours you cite is probably going to fry a new little plant. We strongly recommend that in hot, dry Central Texas woody plants (shrubs and trees) be planted in cool weather, preferably December and January. We suggest that before you spend that money on a likely-doomed tree, you rethink your plans. We could suggest some trees native to this area that can take the full sun, but we still don't recommend planting them now. For instance, here are the Growing Conditions for Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: Medium , High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, calcareous, rocky, sandy, loamy, or clay soils, usually limestone-based.
Conditions Comments: Drought- and cold-tolerant within its range. Give dappled shade when young. A selection called Sanderson is said to be the most drought-adapted Texas redbud cultivar."

So, that would do fine, but NOT IF YOU PLANT IT NOW. And don't buy one to save and plant in late Fall. Those black plastic nursery pots are not designed for survival of the resident plants. Wait until the right time of year, and then buy a good, fresh plant and be sure to insist that the roots be pulled out of the can beforehand, so you can make sure they are not pot-bound, with roots circling inside.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

More Planting Questions

When is the best time to transplant Esperanza bushe in Buda, TX?
September 04, 2013 - When is the best time to transplant an Esperanza bush? I want to move it because it is overwhelming my front yard. Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

Digging wild buttercup from roadside in Mechanicsville MD
May 28, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, is it illegal to dig out wild buttercup in Maryland? I see them along the dirt road or just in the ditch. Since buttercup considered weed, I'm wondering what the law say about this...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Problems with evergreen sumac in San Antonio
May 03, 2012 - I planted 5 5-gallon (approximately 2 feet tall) evergreen sumac in early January. Since that time they have sprouted out new shoot with new leaves several times - every time the leaves have wilted a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center