En EspaŅol

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
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

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

Potential danger of oak wilt in live oaks in Dallas, TX
February 17, 2005 - Do you have or know of any recent publications that discuss a potential oak wilt problem in live oaks in the Dallas area? We strongly believe that live oaks have a great landscape value and are tryi...
view the full question and answer

Native alternative for Japanese Red Maple in Oklahoma
October 12, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my being overgrown and ...
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress causing problems in Spring TX
June 22, 2010 - There is a 50+ ft Bald Cypress growing near my property line. While the tree has grown substantial knees along the driveway and some as far as 35 ft from the tree in my flower beds, I do not see any d...
view the full question and answer

Concerns about swings on trees in Arboretum from San Marcos
June 01, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We very much enjoyed our visit to the new Arboretum this morning! It is already lovely with native species but will really be something with the additions the Wildflower Cent...
view the full question and answer

Destructive landscape crews in The Woodlands TX
October 20, 2012 - Hi. We need help. We recently moved to a house where landscape crews have been blowing away the leaf litter from the front yard for many years. The underbrush was also cleared long ago. The result...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center