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

Tree planting in OH
June 12, 2011 - When transplanting a tree (a maple in Spring in my case now), I understand that one should leave a surrounding doughnut like ridge around the root base to hold in the water from rains and irrigation. ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant rootbound tree now from Kerrville TX
June 10, 2012 - I purchased a Blanco Crabapple tree. Should I plant it now or wait until Fall? (It is currently rootbound.) Second question: Our Mountain Laurel has a dead trunk and one trunk has already died. I c...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive mimosa trees in Vincennes IN
April 29, 2014 - I have 3 Mimosa trees here in Vincennes, Indiana and so far none of them are leafing out this spring (4-28-14) Do you think that this past winter could have killed then?
view the full question and answer

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Evergreen low litter tree for Surprise AZ
March 19, 2010 - Looking for a shade tree about 10-15 ft max with low litter and green all year round/full sun.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center