Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 - December 07, 2007

From: dunnellon, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Desert willows in Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm in Dunnellon, FL and I'm growing several chilopsis linearis from seeds, but they are coming in long, tall with very few leaves. and continuously fall over from their lanky growing ways. Any ideas of how to get these to grow thick and bushy like? I water them after they are 50% dried out as I think they need that much water and am afraid to let them dry out totally as little plants. I have not tried trimming them yet as there is not much to trim.

ANSWER:

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) is not a true willow, and requires very different growing conditions. When you follow the link above and read the information about this tree from our Native Plant Database, you will find that is pretty much confined to the dry Southwest. Anyone who lives in Florida should probably question the wisdom of trying to grow a plant with "desert" in its common name. Please refer also to this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a question about desert willow to get some more information about its care. This is not to say it's a lost cause, and we don't want you to give up on it. It is a native of North America and a lovely tree with amazing blossoms. We suspect that you may be loving your little trees to death. They are valuable in erosion control, which means their roots hold while the water drains away. There may be too much moisture around those roots, and they're literally drowning. If your soil does not drain well, we would suggest less water and allowing the soil to drain and get pretty dry before you water again. Also, they need pretty much full sun and are deciduous, at least here. If you have some branches that are very long and skinny, you might want to trim them now, while the tree is semi-dormant, but not too much. And don't expect it to ever get very "full"; one of the beauties of the tree is that it is open and moves gracefully in the breeze.

 


Chilopsis linearis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Chilopsis linearis Bubba in Hunt TX
October 18, 2009 - I purchased 3 desert willows (label: chilopsis linearis) to create an oasis area around a fountain which is in the center of my circle drive. But I need one more. Now I can only find the "chilopsis...
view the full question and answer

Retention of essential oils by Ashe Juniper wood from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I am looking for information on why local Austin Juniper/Cedar trees are so great at retaining essential oils for aromatherapy. I make pendants for necklaces out of our local fallen cedar trees and ...
view the full question and answer

Pecan leaves falling off the trees in Austin, TX.
August 08, 2012 - Why are the pecan tree leaves turning black, sappy and falling off the trees, in great quantities? This has happened since the recent rains, all through the Allandale area.
view the full question and answer

What about Asian Jasmine and scrub oaks?
September 01, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have several clusters of native scrub oaks in my yard. I planted Asian jasmine under them many years ago. The trees look fine, but an arborist has told me that the Asian ...
view the full question and answer

Need for sunlight for Sophora secundiflora to bloom
June 22, 2007 - My mountain laurel doesn't bloom. We live in Oak Hill and planted it about seven years ago. It bloomed one year at about age three or four. Since then nothing. What can I do? It only gets indire...
view the full question and answer

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