Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Friday - June 12, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Desert Willow size question from Austin, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Dear MSP, I have a desert willow named Edith. We got her from the CoA a couple of years ago for recycling our Chirstmas tree. She's doing well except her three little trunks are teeny-tiny. We want Edith to be a tree rather than a bush; any ideas how to fatten up the girl's trunks? Does trunk fattening happen as she get older, like the rest of us? Thank you, Debbie

ANSWER:

Sounds like Edith found a good home.  I guess I should look harder - as when I was offered trees, I wasn’t so excited about the ones offered and have lately just been happy to recycle our tree.

  Now, Edith is blessed with a slim figure, she [and you] should be happy with that.  Dropping out of the anthropomorphic mode:  Remember that she is a Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow), a member of the Trumpet Creeper family, related to Tecoma stans (Yellow bells) and Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper).  According to the plant record it grows from 15 to 40 feet tall.  Mine is about 12 feet tall and still has small trunks [about 2” in diameter, rather like the last picture].   I’ve placed most of the tree-like pictures we have below; these configurations are about what you should expect from Edith.

  Fattening her up?  Read the plant record as to what she likes and do just a bit better for her!  [Not too much now, she is a desert plant!]  By the way, Yes - as you surmised her trunk will grow with age, but not at the rate that mine seems to be!

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

More Trees Questions

Lopidea on Texas Mountain Laurel from Austin
April 16, 2012 - How do I get rid of the Lopidea ALL OVER my Texas Laurels and boring into the seed pods?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Bertram TX
September 25, 2009 - I have a landscaping job in Bertram, Texas and am looking for all my options as far as full and partial shade somewhat hardy plants. I'm mainly looking for small plants and pretty flowers I can do wi...
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for Bellville, TX
January 03, 2010 - Which fruit trees will withstand heat and drought in the Bellville, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
October 05, 2013 - We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?
view the full question and answer

Can a Desert Willow grow in Nova Scotia Canada
October 20, 2012 - Can a chilopsis linearis grow in Halifax Nova Scotia Zone 6a?
view the full question and answer

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