Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

Blue plants or flowers in Baltimore, MD
July 27, 2007 - I have a taxi company in the city called Bluecab. The headquarters is in an industrial area and the soil is tough and well, industrial. There will be no watering or maintenance done. Looks like a car ...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Bertram TX
September 25, 2009 - I have a landscaping job in Bertram, Texas and am looking for all my options as far as full and partial shade somewhat hardy plants. I'm mainly looking for small plants and pretty flowers I can do wi...
view the full question and answer

Cenizos browning in Houston
October 01, 2011 - After this horrible drought, I am committed to xeriscaping with native Texas plants. The few hibiscus that survived have been transplanted into pots and are thriving. I bid the tiny boxwoods a fond fa...
view the full question and answer

Toxic trees and shrubs in Pennsylvania
September 30, 2008 - I have a long property edge that I have been gradually transforming from a former cattle pasture into a hedgerow of native trees and shrubs. Cattle still graze on the other side. Are there any toxic...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.