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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - October 05, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Small, slow-growing native tree for Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you please recommend a pretty, small, slow growing tree for my bed centerpiece? It gets some sun/partial shade in front of my Houston area north facing home and must survive heat and some drought conditions.

ANSWER:

Indeed, we found several to recommend. In a search for evergreen habit, we selected a couple that could be shrubs, or be pruned up to be small trees. Doing so, we found three evergreen, three deciduous, but all should be relatively slow-growing and make a nice centerpiece for your garden. These are all native to the Houston area, and can tolerate partial shade. We found them by going to the Recommended Species section of our website, selecting East Texas on the map, and narrowed our search by selecting on tree for Habit, and partial shade (2 to 6 hours of sunlight) for Light Requirement. Follow the links below to the webpages with descriptions, or make your own selections. When you are ready to plant (and late Fall is the best time in your part of Texas), go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area.

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - deciduous, with very early blooms and heart-shaped leaves

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree) - deciduous, late starter in Spring, showers of white flowers appearing before or with the first leaves

Crataegus marshallii (parsley hawthorn) - deciduous, interesting parsley-shaped leaves

Ilex opaca (American holly) - evergreen, must have both male and female present to have berries, very slow-growing, shrub to be pruned up to tree shape

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay) - evergreen in South, fragrant flowers borne over a long period

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - evergreen, fragrant foliage, attracts birds, shrub trimmed up to small tree


Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Chionanthus virginicus

Crataegus marshallii

Ilex opaca

Magnolia virginiana

Morella cerifera

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Weeping Willow Problem in Texas
September 04, 2014 - Our weeping willow's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. We are also seeing some brown, gnarly looking pods on some of the stems can you tell us what's happening?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Is Douglas maple (Acer glabrum var. douglassii) native
June 02, 2008 - Could you give me some information about Douglas maple? Moslty, I'm trying to find out if this plant is native or introduced to Idaho and/or U.S. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

A tree for fall color in VA
September 05, 2011 - I need a small to medium-sized tree for enclosure/privacy screening. I'm looking for a fast-growing, deciduous tap-rooted tree for a lawn area about 30-40' away from an existing mature Linden, and ...
view the full question and answer

Why are my Junipers turning brown in San Antonio?
May 11, 2009 - My Texas mountain cedars (junipers, I know) are turning brown, limb by limb. What is the problem and how do I save what looks like a dying tree.
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