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

Tuesday - October 02, 2012

From: Palm Desert, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Growing Magnolia trees in Palm Desert, CA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Will magnolia trees grow in the Palm Desert/Indio, CA area?

ANSWER:

There are nine species of Magnolias in our Native Plant database and one of the more popular ones, Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) is described as one of the most beautiful native trees. It grows in rich porus acidic soils in lowland and coastal woods in the southeastern United States. Southeastern Texas is about as far west as it grows.

My guess is that a tree that prefers moist temperate and sub tropical regions would not be happy in a place called Palm Desert.

To consider alternative plants, lets go to our Native Plant Database. Scroll down to Recommended Species Lists, and click on View Recommended Species Page. Click on Southern California on the map and you will get a list of 208 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in California. SInce we are interested in trees, lets go to the Narrow Your Search Box on the right of the page and make the following selections: select California under State, Tree under General Appearance,  perennial under Lifespan, and check Sun under light requirement.”Click the Narrow Your Search” button and your list shrinks to 28. Clicking  on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, its growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images. As you check out each plant, you can note its size and  and other features.

Here are just a few possibilities;

Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood)    (more information)

Quercus kelloggii (California black oak)   (more information)

Quercus engelmannii (Engelmann oak)  (more information)

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak)  (more information)

Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm) (more information)




 

 

More Trees Questions

What are the green round growths on the edges of my oak leaves in Fairfax, OK
May 21, 2013 - round growths on the edge of oak leaves. ranging in size from a pearl to a lime. ranging in color from pale green to lime green. hollow, small ones appear to contain one small gnat sized seed. the la...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)
November 08, 2013 - I am a gardener for the city of San Francisco. I am just curious about the best way to prepare an acorn from Quercus agrifolia for planting. I have heard many ideas about using sandpaper and microwavi...
view the full question and answer

Inquiry about the Arizona Cypress trees in the Family Garden
March 20, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently visited The Wildflower Center and enjoyed seeing several features that were new since my last visit two years ago. In the Family Garden areas I saw several beautifu...
view the full question and answer

Protecting base of Texas Madrone tree in Austin
May 08, 2011 - 3 years ago, I successfully transplanted a 1-gallon Texas Madrone on the north side of an Ashe Juniper. The Madrone is thriving but the juniper, which has been a great "nurse", is dying. I am lookin...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
view the full question and answer

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