En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 25, 2013

From: St Johns FL, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Growing Chilopsis in Florida
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in St. Johns County, FL between Jacksonville and St Augustine. I live inland, not near the beach. I bought a small desert willow plant in Victoria, TX and brought it back to FL to grow. I plan to plant in a raised bed. Can you provide any information to include in the planting matter so that it could survive in FL? Or would it be best to plant it in a large pot that would dry out more?

ANSWER:

Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a small tree that has willow-like leaves and attractive, large pinkish-white, funnel-shaped blooms that appear after summer rains. It is showy, drought-tolerant and fast growing. It grows best with just enough water to keep it blooming and healthy during the summer months.
Here’s some information about the soil and growing conditions from our website: Well-drained limestone soils preferred, but also does well in sands, loams, clays, caliches, granitic, and rocky soils. Minimal organic content the norm.  Allow to dry out between waterings, as this will encourage more extensive waves of blooms. Avoid excessive water and fertilizer, as that can lead to overly rapid growth, fewer blooms, and a weaker plant. Prolonged saturation can result in rot. Won’t grow as fast or get as large in clay soil but won’t suffer there either. Can be drought-deciduous in some regions. Can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees F.
Prune frequently during its first few years to encourage minimal or single trunks. Water occasionally during prolonged drought. Remove spent flowers and seed pods to encourage continued blooming. To encourage branching and blooming, cut back during winter dormancy by a third.
The tree should grow well in a large pot or in a raised, well drained garden bed with lean soil.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

More Planting Questions

Should I plant a potted Texas Star Hibiscus in August in Austin, TX?
August 12, 2010 - I bought a red Texas Star Hibiscus, in March, in a 6" pot and 2 ft tall. I repotted it to a 12" clay pot, put it under deck roof near edge, where it gets a bit of morning sun and filtered light res...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers in spring for spring bloom
March 02, 2012 - I was wondering if it is possible to plant wildflowers around this time of year, and expect them to bloom in the spring still? I have heard that many wildflowers germinate in the fall. Are there c...
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Texas Star hibiscus
July 31, 2008 - Why is my Texas star plant wilting and now is starting to turn yellow? I just bought it from a nursery and put it in a new pot.
view the full question and answer

Amendments for faster-growing trees from Bulverde TX
July 04, 2010 - What faster growing trees will grow in black gumbo clay that is about 12 inches deep above caliche rock in full sun with a sprinkler system set on 1 inch/week? How many and how much amendments such...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center