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
1 rating

Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: Odessa, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Space for a desert willow in Odessa, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small planting space about 5X5 that is four feet in front of the side of my front door. It is right under the eaves of my house. It's rather an enclosed porch space. I have a new very small desert willow that would look pretty there, but am afraid this space is too small. Could I keep the willow trimmed to fit this space, or am better off with something else? I need a little height there with color, preferable. The willow is 3 ft. tall.

ANSWER:

If you follow this plant link, Chilopsis linearis (desert willow), you will learn that this tree can grow to be 15 to 30 ft. tall, and  it can be expected to develop into a wider space than 5x5 ft. It needs full sun, good drainage and not a lot of water, and should do well in your part of West Texas. However, it does need room, and is not the sort of tree you would want to prune into a shape, or reduce its natural size. In spite of its name, it is not related to willows. The Desert Willow is valuable in reducing erosion on the side walls of canyons and has beautiful purple, pink and white blooms. We would suggest you find a larger space for your little tree, where it can grow up to be a big graceful tree. 

To replace that tree in your spot by the porch, let us suggest a few smaller shrubs that would probably work out very well there. We will go to Recommended Species, click on the High Plains on the Texas map, and select for shrub under Habit. From this we selected two shrubs, and then picked another one that we especially like and that we think would do well in your part of the state.

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) - 3 to 4 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms yellow February to April, needs full sun

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - 3 to 6 ft., evergreen, blooms yellow February to Arpil, sun to part shade

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - 3 to 6 ft., evergreen, takes pruning well, blooms white, pink, violet, can bloom periodically year round, needs sun to part shade.


Chilopsis linearis

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

Leucophyllum frutescens

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Recently planted Monterey Oaks doing poorly in Jourdanton, TX.
September 02, 2013 - We planted 2 nice size Monterrey oak trees in April .they were doing good with new growth on them. But now I have been noticing the leaves are turning brown around the edges. We water about once a wee...
view the full question and answer

Runaway growth on mountain laurel in Coolidge AZ
July 01, 2010 - I have 2 mountain laurels. They are thriving well. In fact one is growing way too fast. I am growing it as a tree, but the branches are in excess of 6 feet, while the trunk is only 18 or so inches. I ...
view the full question and answer

New growth on live oaks in Houston
September 27, 2011 - My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestion for a tree with a tap root in Oklahoma City, OK.
October 27, 2012 - I would like to know the best tree to plant in my area that does well. Would like a tap root tree and also a tree that will not mess with my septic lines. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Black coloration on Star Magnolia is probably sooty mold.
November 21, 2008 - I have a star magnolia where 90% of the bark has turned black. It almost looks burned. The tree has decent buds set for next spring. What is causing the bark to turn black?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center