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

Friday - October 19, 2012

From: Coral Gables, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Information about Melochia tomentosa
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi, We have a plant in our garden that was received as Melochia tomentosa. It is a woody shrub, about 6' tall and 8' wide. According to the Institute for Regional Conservation, this species is not in cultivation. We received our plant from a nursery. I've looked at photos of this species on your site. Can you tell me if this actually grows as a woody shrub? I could not tell by the photos. Thanks!


The information in our Native Plant Database lists Melochia tomentosa (Teabush) as a shrub or subshrub which indicates it is woody.  The USDA Plants Database shows it as being native and occurring in Texas and Florida and native in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  This article from the US Forest Service says that the shrub grows to a height of 4 meters (appx. 13 feet).  Here is more information about the plants from the Palm Beach State College Landscape Plants for Southern Florida.



From the Image Gallery

Melochia tomentosa

Melochia tomentosa

More Shrubs Questions

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a fast-growing evergreen shrub to use along a fence line to obscure unsightly surroundings in Douglassville, TX.
January 07, 2011 - I live in far East Texas (near Texarkana). I need a fast growing, thick evergreen shrub to plant along a fenceline to block out the unsightly "junkyard" my neighbors have going. Prefer something t...
view the full question and answer

Using non-native Red-Tip Photinia as a mulch from Pittsburg TX
March 23, 2011 - Wondering if its ok to use Red Tip Phontinia as a mulch? thanks
view the full question and answer

Shrub for Shady Austin, Texas Backyard
July 11, 2016 - I am looking for a colorful shrub or bush for my drab backyard in Austin. It won't get much sun and I want something native that detracts bugs if possible.
view the full question and answer

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