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?

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 - March 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: User Comments, Soils, Shrubs
Title: Agarita suggestion for Houston area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Another possible plant for the following question is agarita. The question: "Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native."

ANSWER:

Thank you for your suggestion for question #8975. If the person asking the question had been from Austin or Central Texas, Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) would have been my first recommendation, too.   However, the questioner is from Sugar Land, Texas in Fort Bend County—adjacent to Harris County and adjoining the Houston metropolitan area.  If you look at the USDA Plants Database distribution map, you will see that agarita doesn't occur in Fort Bend or Harris Counties (if you click on the map, it will add the county names) nor anywhere along the upper Gulf Coast of Texas.  If you look at the GROWING CONDITIONS on the agarita species page, you will see that the "Soil Description:  Rocky, limestone soil" certainly doesn't match soils in the Houston area. In short, the habitat in Sugar Land/Houston won't support growing agaritas.  You can see a map of the Soils of Texas with descriptions of the various soil regions of Texas from the State Historical Society's Texas Almanac.  Additionally, the humidity for Houston area (average of 90% in the morning to 63% average in the afternoon) is  higher than that for Austin in Central Texas (average of 83% in the morning and 59% in the afternoon).

 

More Shrubs Questions

Winter pruning of lantana from Austin
February 12, 2013 - I live in north Austin. Due to our mild winter, my lantana has not died off this season as it usually does after a freeze - and so I have not cut it back yet this year which I typically do about right...
view the full question and answer

Using a brush hog on acreage on Bear Creek in Austin, TX.
July 25, 2012 - We have 8 acres off 1826 situated on Bear Creek. It has open areas with scattered large trees (cedar elm, live oak, white oak). Cedars or junipers only along the the lot lines. We've been told we...
view the full question and answer

Planting native blueberry bushes in Tennessee
July 07, 2008 - I have long wished to have wild blueberry bushes at my home. They are native to mountainous regions of my state, but I don't know whether or not it is reasonable to expect to be able to grow them wh...
view the full question and answer

Need a native, evergreen shrub to replace Pittosporum in Austin, TX
May 13, 2014 - We've had a PITTOSPORUM for years as a foundation planting on the southwest corner of our central Austin home. Now that it's gone, I would like to replace with a native, non-invasive shrub. What are...
view the full question and answer

Native landscape in Central Austin
September 02, 2007 - We live in Central Austin and are landscaping part of yard. We planted a 30 gallon red oak tree, built sizeable beds around it and want to complete the landscaping with native grasses, shrubs, climbin...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center