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?


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

Wednesday - November 25, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need help selecting maple cultivars in Houston.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I live in Houston, TX and would like to plant 2 red maples in my front yard. I know there are multiple varieties planted down here, but I can't tell which one would do best. The ones that I've come across are Drummond's, Autumn Blaze, and October Glory. Which one will do the best in the hot, humid Houston climate?


Red maples are a popular landscape tree, and ones that you mention, which are cultivars of Acer rubrum (red maple), are spectacular. There is more to think about when selecting a tree than surviving hot and humid Houston. You need also to consider things like soil type, soil drainage, and soil pH; all of these affect the growth of the tree. Since we know none of these things about the site where the trees will be planted, it would be difficult to recommend a plant for you. instead, I will give you some information sources that can help you with your decision.

The first is the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service. By Using the Custom Tree Selector, you will learn their recommendations for Harris County.

This website of the Houston Parks and Recreation Dept has a wealth of information about trees ranging from selection, to planting, to complying with the tree ordinance.

Clicking on the name of each plant below will bring up a page of information about that cultivar.


October Glory

Autumn Blaze

For a source of help closer to home, I suggest that you contatct the folks at the  Texas AgriLife Extension Service for Harris County.


Acer rubrum



More Trees Questions

Trees blooming white in Austin area
March 16, 2010 - 3/16/10 What are the trees that are blooming white in the Austin area. They are a full tree and very prolific in the area.
view the full question and answer

What plants to put under an oak tree in Clover SC
January 30, 2010 - I have a 70 year old oak tree in my backyard and have tried to grow grass out from it with no success. I'd like to just plant some shrubs and make it a natural area now, but need advice on what I ca...
view the full question and answer

Trees with non-invasive roots for California
March 30, 2009 - My family is currently in the process of redoing our entire yard. A huge task I might add! We had fruitless mulberries planted and one Modesto Ash. As much as we loved them we are hating their roots. ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Savannah holly from Livingston TX
October 05, 2013 - Our Savannah Holly standards, planted in spring 2012, are now 10' tall, with 2-3" caliper trunks at the base. Some are in decline or have died. We thought the ribbons holding them to the nursery's ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for streambank area in Oregon
September 14, 2012 - I am ready to replant a streambank area with native plants..what do you recommend for the Willamette Valley in Oregon? Thanks much!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center