En Español

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

Monday - August 20, 2007

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Growth rate of trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the growth rate of the following plants. (How wide and tall each year? They are all in 1 gallon pots right now.) 1. Agarita 2. Anacacho Orchid 3. Silk Tassel. Is there anything that can be done to maintain it well so that they grow very fast? I am in Pflugerville so would it need any soil amendment? if yes what is the recommended amendment? I am specially concerned about the Agarita because it will be close to the eave of the house. This side of the house remains moist in summer up to about 2 feet from the wall of the house. The silk tassel will get the hot afternoon sun. So what can I feed them or take care of them to make them grow fast.

ANSWER:

Since rate of growth depends not only on the genetics of the plant but the environmental conditions it experiences, Mr. SP can't give you the exact amount of growth for the three plants, but can suggest a possible expected range.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) is a slow grower. Under the best conditions it might grow as much 5-8 inches a year, but 2-4 inches is probably a better estimate of yearly growth. It's maximum height is only about 6.5 feet. It prefers full sun, but will grow in some dappled shade. it is most often found in caliche with underlying limestone, but can be happy with most any kind of soil as long as it's well-drained. I would be a little concerned about it under the eaves of the house because of the shading it will get as well as the damp soil. You probably would be more successful with it if you moved it from that location into a sunnier, well-drained spot.

Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) is, relatively, a faster grower and can add 8-10 inches a year. Under cultivation it can reach 12-15 feet. It can be grown in partial shade or full sun and also prefers well-drained soil. It benefits from being on the south side of a cover (like a wall or a house) protecting it from winter winds.

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel), according to Jill Nokes (How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest), has a root system that is slow growing and takes 2-3 years to get well-established. Once established, however, it is moderately fast growing. Pushing them into faster growth with fertilizer appears to weaken them. It grows in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. You can read more about silktassel in an article from the Boerne Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

You have chosen three excellent native plants for your property. Since agarita and silktassel are both native to Travis County, Texas it isn't necessary to add anything to your soil for them. They are both well-adapted to the calcareous clay soil of the county. Anacacho orchid tree's native range is southwest Texas and Mexico. The soils it lives in there are also limestone based so your Pflugerville soil should not need any amendments.

 

 


Mahonia trifoliolata

Bauhinia lunarioides

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri

 

 

More Trees Questions

Texas wild olive for Summerfield FL
January 17, 2013 - I want to buy a Texas Wild Olive for my home in Summerfield, Fl. My landscaper brought me a regular olive tree saying he had never heard of a Texas Olive Tree in our area. I have looked on line withou...
view the full question and answer

Florida law on removing orange trees
March 24, 2007 - I live in a co-op mobile home park with a board of directors that tell me that if I have to cut down my orange tree that Florida law says that I have to replace it with another orange tree. I say that...
view the full question and answer

Tiny holes oozing sap from Austin
August 22, 2012 - My ash tree becomes loaded with butterflies on the trunk. At closer inspection, I see they are drinking sap which is coming from small holes in the trunk. Are the butterflies creating the holes? I ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Canary Date Palms from Miami FL
December 06, 2011 - Hi: The fronts of my canary date palm, which I planted about 6 years ago, has been getting brown from the bottom of the tree and working itself towards the top for the past several months now. The b...
view the full question and answer

Looking for yellow bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) and native substitutes
February 14, 2008 - I have been looking for years for a yellow bottle bush. It is identical to the red but is yellow. there are several varieties, but the one i want is just like the red one in appearance. I live in Flor...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center