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

Friday - April 23, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Freeze damage to dwarf Barbados Cherry in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This past winter was colder than usual here, in the southwestern outskirts of Austin, but I am surprised that my established Dwarf Barbados Cherry, on the south side of my house froze completely to the ground. There is a little green sprig that has come out at its base, but sadly, the rest of the beautiful shrub has had to be removed. I hope that it can grow out again! Is the dwarf variety less hardy than the standard size? Thank you!

ANSWER:

This USDA Plant Profile shows that Malpighia glabra (wild crapemyrtle) does indeed grow in Travis County, although is not shown as growing in any other of the counties around here. In this article from the Fort Bend Master Gardeners, Dwarf Barbados Cherry, we learned that it is considered just a smaller selection, 3 to 4 ft., of the regular plant, which can grow 9 to 12 ft. Here is an excerpt from this article: "Ornamentally, it is considered a very desirable small shrub for gardens south of Austin." Another source named a selection 'Nana' as being a dwarf version. However, it is not considered hardy north of Zone 9; Austin is in Zone 8a. As the dwarf is not really a "cultivar" (cultivated variety), but a selection, it should have no different hardiness from the standard plant. Since you do have a green sprig, we believe it will grow back, but it will be a slow process, and there will always be the threat of dieback again in another hard Austin winter. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Malpighia glabra

Malpighia glabra

Malpighia glabra

Malpighia glabra

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
August 09, 2011 - Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen thorny bush for California
May 01, 2010 - I need to find an evergreen thorny type bush, shrub or tree that will grow with about 3-4 hours of morning sun only. Prefer CA native, inland/semi coastal. Purpose: To provide a deterrent for "tag...
view the full question and answer

Need trees & shrubs for a 2.5x45 ft. planter box in Chatsworth. CA.
August 07, 2012 - We recently built a pool in our backyard and need to redo all the landscaping. We have a planter that is 45 feet long and about 2.5 feet wide. We'd like to put some trees in this planter that are n...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for planting under hollies in DC
April 01, 2011 - I would like shrub suggestions for planting under holly trees. I live in Washington, DC and have 2 very well-established large holly trees (2 story tall trees) in the front of our house, facing north...
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