Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

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.

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Louisiana
March 19, 2008 - I just returned from a visit to Austin and I saw the Texas Mountain Laurel everywhere. I live in the Baton Rouge, LA area and would like to know if performing some soil amendments would allow me to gr...
view the full question and answer

Oak roots damaged by ax from Austin
July 03, 2013 - Hello. I am attempting to create my own tiny copy of the Wildflower Center within my yard. I'm using all native, drought tolerant plants. My front yard is full of live oaks. I used a sod cutter la...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

What will grow under neighbor's overhanging tree in Grosse Pointe Woods MI
May 29, 2011 - My next door neighbor has a beautiful tree that is easily 60 years old and thus not going anywhere. Unfortunately, for me the roots of this tree have extended under a large corner of my back yard. Add...
view the full question and answer

Possible reasons for non-fruiting wild plum
March 10, 2007 - My grandfather has land in Lee County with thickets of wild plum, I believe creek plum is another name. However, they never seem to produce plums while thickets nearby on the roadside less than one mi...
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.