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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

 

 

 

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