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
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
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


Acerola
Malpighia glabra

More Planting Questions

Oak leaf hydrangeas from Edwardsville IL
August 13, 2012 - Hello, I live in West Central Illinois (across the river from St. Louis) and I am considering planting several Oak leaf Hydrangea's in my yard. The location where I would like to plant them is und...
view the full question and answer

Replacing mature Arizona Ash trees in Austin
August 26, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 2 very large, very old Arizona Ash trees in my yard. I want to remove them and replace them with something like Cedar Elm or Chinquapin Oak. The problem is that they are t...
view the full question and answer

Why does newly transplanted Brazos Penstemon look bad
June 09, 2015 - I bought Brazos penstemon from a nursery as well as several other drought resistant plants. I have noticed new buds on the salvia and blanket flower and changes in leaf color on the kaleidoscope, but...
view the full question and answer

Need name of company with experience in Habiturf installation in Round Rock, TX.
January 24, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I read the article about "NATIVE LAWNS: HABITURF™ A MULTI-SPECIES MIX FOR NORTH, WEST AND CENTRAL TEXAS" Do you know any landscape companies/groups in Austin - Round Ro...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vines for the Texas Hill Country
January 17, 2015 - What are the best fast-growing vines for our Hill Country location? The vine will be growing on a stucco wall, so we don't want the vine to grow into the stucco and destroy it. Location has morning ...
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