Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

More Planting Questions

Recently planted live oak tree in Boerne, TX
February 07, 2009 - My brother planted a live oak in August. It was from a nursery and had a root ball. It looks dead but I keep watering it. The trunk is about 6 inches around. The leaves died but when the winds came th...
view the full question and answer

Bare spot in Prairie Phlox in Austin
February 25, 2009 - I have Prairie Phlox in my garden that I have had for about 4 to 6 years. I got the original plant from the NPSOT at their booth one year at the Wildflower center. It is really lovely in the spring wh...
view the full question and answer

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for poorly drained clay soil
March 24, 2008 - I am trying to establish a native plant garden in my back yard, I have two places where water stands for a few hours after a heavy rain, and the soil is black clay. Can you recommend any perennials 3...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bluebonnets to garden from Columbus TX
January 30, 2014 - Is it possible to transplant bluebonnets from pasture to garden and if so when is the best time to do this? Thank you
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.