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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Tuesday - May 17, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Can non-native Jacaranda be grown in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I grow a jacaranda tree in San Antonio? Wonder if it can handle heat, occasional freezes, & dry seasons.

ANSWER:

Jacaranda mimosifolia is native to Brazil, Argentina and Peru and therefore falls out of our range of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is devoted to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally. The reason for this is that trying to get a non-native to survive will require hard work, extra water, chemical fertilizers, soil amendments for a different soil pH, and perhaps it will still not survive.

We will, however, do a little hunting around and see what the native conditions for this plant are, and you can decide for yourself if it's worth the trouble, or if you would prefer instead to use one of the lovely native Texas plants that will grow in Bexar County without so much fuss. This USDA Plant Profile map shows it growing as an introduced tree only in Florida.

From Floridata, here is an article on this tree, which points out that it grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 9a to 11, and needs consistent moisture. Bexar County is Zone 8a and some of our bad freezes recently would make it touch and go for a tropical tree. One line from that article that we think you should note: "Jacaranda are inexpensive and easily available from most nurseries and garden centers in areas where it will grow."

Pictures from Google.

 

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