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?


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

Tuesday - May 09, 2006

From: Brady, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Mountain Laurel and Desert Willow in pots or ground in Brady, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton


I would really appreciate your advice if a Texas Mountain Laurel (now a 1 gal. size) and a Desert Willow (now a 3 gal.) are good candidates for planting in containers and, if so, what size for each? Any other input would certainly be helpful! Thanks...


Both Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) can be grown in very large containers in Brady, TX. Considering the the size of the pots your plants are now in, you probably want to go up to something in the range of 8-10 gallon pots. There are certainly problems with growing trees in containers, though. Among the most difficult issues is the problem of watering. Potted plants are far more prone to drying than those in the soil. Fertilizer and mineral salt build-up is another issue. Finally, potted plants are far more prone to freeze damage than those rooted in the earth. All of these are issues to consider.

It should also be possible to grow Mountain Laurel, at least, in the ground. The Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas shows it occurring in your neighboring county, San Saba. Desert Willow, however, has not been recorded as occurring near McCulloch County (i.e, in a neighboring county).

More Trees Questions

Evergreen plant to grow to 6 feet tall with flowers and non-toxic
November 04, 2013 - I live in South Texas, and in town. I am looking for plant that grows taller than 6 feet and is non toxic to people and pets. Would also like for it to be pest and disease free or minimal. Need it ...
view the full question and answer

Skin allergies; is Juniper the culprit in Simi Valley, CA?
July 21, 2012 - My husband and I have had terrible skin allergy problems this spring (for me it's been 3 years) and think it may be the juniper bushes outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Is there a fast growin...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
April 16, 2012 - I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
view the full question and answer

Safe distance from foundation for Sycamore from Preston UK
August 24, 2011 - What would be the safe distance to have a sycamore tree near your house so it doesn't affect the foundations?
view the full question and answer

Plants for full-sun landscape
November 20, 2007 - I live in a very rocky area just outside of Fort Worth, TX. It's taken me all spring, summer & now I'm going into the fall, to landscape just 30 feet in front of my house. The front of the house get...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center