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

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen shrubs for Fairfax VA
May 13, 2010 - I have a 2' wide 6' long strip between a brick wall and the front walk leading up to the entry way. Lavender has been a pain and I would like to replace it with an attractive evergreen alternate. ...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for fenceline in Houston
September 13, 2009 - I live in Houston, TX and would like your suggestion on what plants, trees or shrubs would work best to grow alongside a fence to hide a neighbor's backyard. We all have relatively small backyards.
view the full question and answer

Problems with azaleas
April 22, 2008 - Last summer I planted 10 evergreen Azaleas "Hino Crimson" I sprinkled a little rhody fertilizer in their holes before planting and gave them plenty of water all summer. They are all doing fine excep...
view the full question and answer

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center