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?

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

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 09, 2010

From: College Station, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: BEST SPACING AND EXPECTED HEIGHT FOR ACEROLA (BARBADOS CHERRY) IN COLLEGE STATION, TX
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

What is the best spacing for Malpighia glabra plants and how tall will they grow in College Station, TX?

ANSWER:

The ultimate size that any plant attains depends on a number of factors the most important of which are soil, water, light and temperature. (the genes of your individual plant count too). In College Station you can provide the part shade and sandy to clay dry soil Malpighia glabra (Acerola) prefers. Temperature is going to be a bigger challenge.

Malpighia glabra is a Texas native plant most common in far south Texas, although the USDA shows it to be distributed as far north as Dallas. The Texas A&M Native Plants Database talks about its desirability as shrub for gardens south of Austin, but also recognizes root hardy plants in the Dallas area. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer discussing freezing problems in the Austin area.

In the College Station area it is likely this plant will die back to the ground most if not every winter. After the first freeze, the plants will need heavy mulching until new growth emerges in the spring.

The Texas A&M description says Malpighia glabra can attain heights up to nine feet. Since yours will be starting from the ground up almost every year, they almost certainly will never get that tall. They will more likely be about two feet tall with a spread of about two feet. Thus, a spacing of two feet should give them plenty of room, but achieve an appearance of dense growth.

 

From the Image Gallery


Barbados cherry
Malpighia glabra

More Shrubs Questions

Are Desert Willow Leaves Fragrant?
June 11, 2015 - I have a pink Desert Willow and have noticed that the leaves are fragrant; no flowers are yet present. I cannot find any sites that agree with this finding? Is this unusual?
view the full question and answer

Cenizo for border of school garden from Cedar Park TX
January 27, 2014 - Hi. We're starting a school garden in Central Texas, and instead of building a fence along one side, we'd like to plant a hedge. Ideally, it would grow tall enough to deter deer from jumping over, b...
view the full question and answer

Foundation plants unlikely to provide good shade for rattlesnakes in TX
August 28, 2011 - I would like to plant native grass around my new home in the country near Mason, TX. My concerns are the rattlesnakes that are common here, and if they could "hide" in the native grasses since they ...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
view the full question and answer

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center