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 - 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 Soils Questions

Native grass mix for Bastrop County, TX
February 25, 2014 - I plan to put in a small lawn on a tract of land near Rosanky, TX in Bastrop County. There are scattered oaks but the yard space will be mostly open. Soil is basically sandy. Is there a good native...
view the full question and answer

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
view the full question and answer

Darkened leaves on blueberry bush
July 02, 2008 - I have a blueberry bush planted in a very large pot. It has been doing very well, producing berries and new growth. All of a sudden the leaves have begun to turn dark. I have it potted in good soil...
view the full question and answer

Fertilizer amounts for native perennials in Belton, TX
March 18, 2009 - I am a novice gardener and need advice on how to fertilize my native perennials. I would like to use organic fertilizer and need advice on exactly what to use. I have a compost pile but it does not ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for sunny dry soil location
August 22, 2010 - Do any native plants exist in a highly sunny very dry soil location? (high overhang prevents rain but allows sun)
view the full question and answer

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