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
1 rating

Thursday - May 29, 2008

From: Houston, , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Seasonal Tasks, Trees
Title: Will a Norfolk pine survive winter in Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

If I transplant a Norfolk pine in the summer, or when is the best time, will it survive the winter growing in Houston Tx? Can you give me some suggestions for fast growing vines facing the front of my house (western exposure). Will clematis work?

ANSWER:

The Norfolk Pine (not actually a pine) is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. As such, it is way out of the range of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which specializes in the care and propagation of plants native to North America. We did find a Floridata website on Araucaria heterophylla that has some information that might be useful to you. The ordinary hardiness zone for this plant is Zone 10-11 and it will begin to sustain damage at 40 deg F. The Houston hardiness zone is 9a; however, it is noted that it is grown outdoors in Florida in protected micro-climates throughout Zone 9. A south-facing wall, in direct sunlight in the winter, with perhaps a flanking wall for more protection from the wind, would constitute a micro-climate of sorts. If you are willing to experiment, you could certainly try to grow the tree in Houston. As to when to transplant, since it is a native of the Southern Hemisphere, we could not find any information on when to plant this tree outside. So, we're going to suggest planting it in the Fall, when the worst of the heat is past, to give it time to accustom itself to the conditions before the chances of cold weather approaching. And, again, it will have several months to brace itself for the Houston summers.

On your second question, vines for a western exposure on your house in Houston, here are a few possibilities, most tolerant of sun to part shade, and all native to Texas.

Clematis pitcheri (bluebill) - perennial, but dies to ground in the Fall.

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) - usually evergreen, climbs by tendrils, attracts hummingbirds.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) - climbs by tendrils, deciduous, poisonous berries.

Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower) - herbaceous perennial, climbs with axillary tendrils or sprawls, needs part shade.

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple clematis
Clematis pitcheri

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native lambs ears wilting in heat from Fredericksburg TX
October 19, 2011 - 3 days ago I had professional landscaping done in an area with plants that tolerate heat & sun well. We planted 7 healthy, large lambs ear & mulched. Everything planted is doing well except the lambs ...
view the full question and answer

Does NPIN include non-native plant species?
September 03, 2009 - I'm writing a book on the plants eaten by 12th century Indians of Florida. I'd like to use your site for some of my research. You say all of your plants are native, but then under some listings (wil...
view the full question and answer

Advisability of growing Silybum marianum (Milk thistle)
November 26, 2013 - I just received a load of clay-mix-dirt - and after our recent rains noticed the pile sprouting what looks like "Milk Thistle." Lots of them. The leaves are spiny and variegated - quite pretty. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Mandevilla care
March 08, 2006 - I have a mandevilla and it looks like there are about 5 plants in one pot. Can it be separated without killing it? And, if it can be separated how should it be done? The plant is about 7" high and i...
view the full question and answer

Damaged non-native weeping willow in California
August 16, 2008 - I have a weeping willow that has no leaves and branches seems to have turned brittle. I don't see any bugs or burrows on the tree. The type of willow I have is very common in this area, although I'm...
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