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?


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

Wednesday - June 25, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Information about cenizo care and care of non-native tibouchinas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I just bought some tibouchinas and need some tips. I plan to plant them in an area that gets sun until about 2pm, then shade for the rest of the day. Will these plants thrive in this environment, or what are the best conditions for them? How far apart should I plant them, and how large can I expect them to grow in full-sun and part-shade conditions? Will Leucophyllum frutescens also thrive in a sun-till-2pm area?


Well, Mr. Smarty Plants can't be of too much help with your tibouchinas since they are not native to North America and our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America. Tibouchinas are native to the tropical regions of South America—many are native to Brazil. We don't know what species you have, but T. urvilleana seems to be a popular one. You can read about its care from Floridata.com or try Googling 'tibouchina care' for other sites that have instructions for their care. Since you just bought your plants you could also go back to the store where you purchased them to see if they have care instructions. Our advice is to never go away from the store with a plant without care instructions in hand.

Now, we can tell you about Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) since it is native to Texas, albeit more suited to the drier southwestern regions than humid Houston. However, it will grow in Houston and can grow up to 5 feet high and sometimes taller in landscaped settings with watering. It does best in full sun. It will also grow in part shade (2-6 hours of sunshine per day) but the more sun, the better off it will be. Watering in the summer will make it grow faster, but overwatering it or poor drainage may kill it. It is adapted to dry climatic condidtions.

Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens



More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native banana trees
June 06, 2008 - I recently planted two types of Banana trees, a Darjeeling and a Giant Nepal. I know that both are hardy to my zone 7 but that the Nepal needed heavy mulching. My first question is how long will it ta...
view the full question and answer

Fertilizer for non-native Althea in West Monroe LA
July 12, 2010 - What type of fertilizer is best for Althea Bushes
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native althea in Georgetown, TX
June 20, 2009 - My white althea's leaves have a white edge, last year the bloom did not open. Is it sick?
view the full question and answer

Survival of non-native mimosa in Pennsylvania
June 08, 2008 - Can a mimosa tree survive in Pennsylvania weather?
view the full question and answer

Companion plants for non-native Santolina virens
March 23, 2015 - Can you recommend companion plant options for Santolina virens? The companion plant would be planted randomly and interspersed with the santolina and needs to be no taller than 12 inches because of th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center