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

Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
April 24, 2013 - Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed cre...
view the full question and answer

Dog Friendly Privacy Hedge for Long Island
April 14, 2013 - Can you please advise me of some plants for a privacy hedge that are non-toxic to dogs and that would thrive on Long Island, NY? I am looking for a hedge to grow to about 6-8 ft.
view the full question and answer

Mountain laurel planting over Frederickburg limestone
March 22, 2012 - We have rocky limestone shelves on our property. We want to plant a mountain laurel. Are the roots strong enough to break through the limestone or should we try to find another location? The limestone...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting American beautyberry in Cordele GA
May 19, 2014 - Is mid to late May too late in the season to transplant Callicarpa americana, American Beautyberry?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for hedge not toxic to horses and llamas in California
May 01, 2011 - I have goats llamas and horses, and need a short hedge that is non-toxic to them. It will be along a section of no-climb fencing, but they would be able to get to it. I lost a foal this morning and co...
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