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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 25, 2009

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Blueberries in Arlington TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Which wild or native blueberries can I grow in Arlington Texas? I think it is zone 8?

ANSWER:

There are two members of the Vaccinium genus native to Texas: Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) and Vaccinium fuscatum (black highbush blueberry). Neither is native anywhere close to Tarrant County. They like acidic soils, like the forest floors of East Texas (where they are native) with constantly falling leaves and pine needles, adding to the acidity of the soil. This member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team gardened in Arlington for 38 years and, trust me, the soil there is alkaline. Some of it is clay and in other parts of town there is sand, but none of it is going to be hospitable to blueberries. And you are correct, Arlington is in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8. 

However, if you are determined and willing to spend the effort, all is not lost. We found an article from Paghat's Garden, Vaccinium corymbosum, that makes it sound doable. The author of that article touts the health benefits of blueberries, which apparently are numerous, but he doesn't say how to keep the birds from getting to them first. If you purchase nursery stock, make sure it is one of the species that can live in Texas; sometimes the large chain nurseries just figure a blueberry is a blueberry, and you might get one that would be happier in Vermont. 

From our webpage on Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry), it grows 6 to 12 ft. tall and wide, is deciduous, and blooms white or pink in May and June. 

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet to dry, acid, rocky soils to organic peats.
Conditions Comments: Extremely susceptible to chlorosis due to alkalinity. Benefits from mulch. Prune after fruiting."

 

From the Image Gallery


Highbush blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum

Highbush blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum

Black highbush blueberry
Vaccinium fuscatum

More Shrubs Questions

How can I distinguish Hibiscus laevis from Pavonia braziliensis in New Braunfels, TX?
September 12, 2011 - How can I distinguish Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf Hibiscus) from Pavonia braziliensis (Brazillian Rock Rose)? Earlier this year I was given the former by a friend and former NPSOT chap...
view the full question and answer

Plants to keep children out of yard
April 23, 2008 - I WANT TO PLANT SOMETHING ALONG A FENCE LINE TO KEEP CHILDREN OUT OF OUR YARD. NEEDS TO GROW FAST BUT NOT POISONOUS
view the full question and answer

Plants for wall with afternoon sun in Oregon
July 03, 2008 - Portland, Or. We have a stacked cement wall about 30 feet long that receives afternoon sun from the west. we would like to plant something edible along that wall that can tolerate afternoon sun. G...
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Drought Resistant Privacy Screen for North Side of Austin Texas House
July 10, 2016 - We live in the densely populated Mueller development, where there's barely 3 feet from our home to the 6 foot high privacy fence between us and the house next door. Since the houses are 2 stories, we ...
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