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

Saturday - August 28, 2010

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Specimen evergreen for sun in Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm soliciting suggestions for a specimen plant for a new garden we're building. It will be planted in a 3' square raised (18") Limestone bed. It will be full sun, Western exposure, and relatively dry. I'd like an evergreen with strong geometric form, height 3', topping out 10' or less. Hill Country native preferred, but, considering the intense location, would consider desert SW plant. Wife says "No cactus". Here's what we've thought of, so far. Nothing screams "I'm it", but it may give some idea of what we're looking for: Weeping Yaupon (probably too big) A dwarfed TX Persimmon (think giant bonsai) An ancient Rosemary, trimmed to tree form Red or yellow Hesperaloe Thanks for any help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that the Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca) or its yellow form would be nice.  However, Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon), dwarf or otherwise, is only semi-evergreen.

Here are some other possibilities that meet your general size requirements, are evergreen and love the sun:

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) grows 5 to 10 feet tall.

Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) has a flower stalk that can reach 15 feet, but the foliage itself is only around 2.5 to 3 feet and Dasylirion wheeleri (common sotol) has a flower stalk up to 10 feet, but the foliage is less than 3 feet.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush or cenizo) typically grows to only 4 to 6 feet, but can grow a bit taller.

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) grows 8 to 12 feet.

Yucca thompsoniana (Thompson's yucca) grows 6 to 12 feet.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) grows 6 to 12 feet but occasionally can reach 20 feet.  There are dwarf versions available, however.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Texas sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Common sotol
Dasylirion wheeleri

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Thompson's yucca
Yucca thompsoniana

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Care for some non-native salvias from Austin
November 12, 2012 - Mexican bush sage and Salvia "indigo spires" are both blooming in my Austin beds right now. Once they stop blooming and/or frost gets them, could you tell me by how much they should be cut back? R...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
January 27, 2014 - Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last ye...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Dakota mock vervain
July 23, 2007 - We just planted some Verbena bipinnatifida in our back yard and when we planted it, it had purple flowers on it but now they've all dried up. We live in central Colorado and thought this plant was fa...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
September 03, 2011 - My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Green wall panel for Dallas
August 21, 2007 - We are working on a green wall panel for a hotel near SMU--I see your list of recommended species for green roofs, & wondered if you have any ideas for vertical applications. Probably will have someth...
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