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
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

Tree that looks like cedar elm but with smooth bark
August 09, 2014 - What tree looks like a cedar elm, but has smooth bark?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eastern hemlock in Greenville SC
July 02, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a beautiful, young, 5 and a half foot tall Eastern Hemlock. I purchased and planted it two years ago in the fall. It has been doing very well all this spring. And ne...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Post Oaks
July 26, 2014 - I live in Houston and have two post oaks. One is right by my house. I'd like to trim them but was told they are sensitive and might die if I trim them. Is this true? What is the right course of ac...
view the full question and answer

Swarming insects on non-native willow in Washington PA
September 25, 2011 - I have had a very large, beautiful pillow willow bush/tree growing next to our garage for about 8 years. Last year at the end of August, it began to attract white-faced hornets and yellow jackets by t...
view the full question and answer

Trees for creek side in Illinois
July 04, 2008 - I have a creek that runs along my back yard, and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on water loving trees to grow next to it. The creek gets sun all day and is located in zone 5. (so...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center