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

Growing Loblolly Pine in Salado, Texas
March 09, 2016 - I would like to plant a loblolly pine in Salado, Texas. Will these grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Huisache blooms when freeze is over
May 02, 2005 - I live in San Antonio, TX and have heard that when the Huisache blooms all danger of frost or freeze is over. Is that true? And, this year to date (April 22, 2005) we have not seen the Huisache bloo...
view the full question and answer

Aging Arizona Ash in Austin
May 04, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants! I live in South Austin and just bought a house with a large, 30-40 year old Arizona Ash in the backyard. When I moved in, most of the lower branches were bare and dead and so I had ...
view the full question and answer

Best dogwood to plant in Dallas GA
June 13, 2010 - I am interested in how to select the best dogwood (Flowering) tree to plant in Dallas, GA 30157. The location receives full sun, the soil is typical GA clay/?. I found a list of 20+ Dogwood trees on...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for horses in Austin
October 27, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
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