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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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Friday - January 25, 2013

From: Conway, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Hardiness of Acerola bush for Conway AR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How far north can you grow an Acerola bush? I live in Conway, AR, which is north of Little Rock.We used to be Zone 7, but now we are on the edge of Zone 8, I believe.

ANSWER:

Malpighia glabra (Acerola)  is a truly beautiful flowering shrub, and we wish you could grow it in Conway AR, too. Located in Faulkner Co., when we look at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone, it appears you are in Zone 7a. Austin is in Zone 7b.

From our webpage on this shrub:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone. Well-drained.
Conditions Comments: Half of the winters in the Austin area are mild enough for Barbados cherry to keep its leaves. It is useful as a dense screening hedge that may be left soft, sheared, or as a specimen. Birds quickly gobble up its bright, edible fruit and adult butterflies feed on the nectar. Standard tall and dwarf spreading varieties exist."

From Trade Winds Fruit, here is some more information on Acerola. Dave's Garden Forum says the Hardiness Zones for this plant are 9b to 11.

If that sunny sheltered corner we suggested is too much sun for the plant in the summer, that blows that theory. This is really your decision to make. If you feel your soils match what is needed by the Acerola and that it can get through your winters, it's certainly worth a try.

 

From the Image Gallery


Barbados cherry
Malpighia glabra

Barbados cherry
Malpighia glabra

Barbados cherry
Malpighia glabra

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