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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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Thursday - December 27, 2012

From: Granbury, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Growing non-native avocado outside from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My son has a very large avocado tree that he rooted from a pit that is currently growing in a large container. However, it has gotten too big to winter inside. Can it be planted in the ground in Austin, Texas?


If it is too big to grow indoors, you don't have much choice - you grow it outside. Will it survive? We have no idea. It is a tropical plant, native to Mexico, Central and South America. This USDA Plant Profile map shows that it grows in the United States only in South Florida, Miami-Dade County. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America (excluding Mexico) but to the area in which they are being planted (in this case, Travis County, TX). The reason for this is to avoid wasting precious resources like water and back muscles on plants that have little chance of surviving. You might try a sheltered, sunny area, Since obviously the tree has already cost you nothing to be planted, give it a try, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Here is more information on Persea americana (avocado) from Purdue Unversity.



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