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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - December 07, 2007

From: dunnellon, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Desert willows in Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm in Dunnellon, FL and I'm growing several chilopsis linearis from seeds, but they are coming in long, tall with very few leaves. and continuously fall over from their lanky growing ways. Any ideas of how to get these to grow thick and bushy like? I water them after they are 50% dried out as I think they need that much water and am afraid to let them dry out totally as little plants. I have not tried trimming them yet as there is not much to trim.

ANSWER:

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) is not a true willow, and requires very different growing conditions. When you follow the link above and read the information about this tree from our Native Plant Database, you will find that is pretty much confined to the dry Southwest. Anyone who lives in Florida should probably question the wisdom of trying to grow a plant with "desert" in its common name. Please refer also to this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a question about desert willow to get some more information about its care. This is not to say it's a lost cause, and we don't want you to give up on it. It is a native of North America and a lovely tree with amazing blossoms. We suspect that you may be loving your little trees to death. They are valuable in erosion control, which means their roots hold while the water drains away. There may be too much moisture around those roots, and they're literally drowning. If your soil does not drain well, we would suggest less water and allowing the soil to drain and get pretty dry before you water again. Also, they need pretty much full sun and are deciduous, at least here. If you have some branches that are very long and skinny, you might want to trim them now, while the tree is semi-dormant, but not too much. And don't expect it to ever get very "full"; one of the beauties of the tree is that it is open and moves gracefully in the breeze.

 


Chilopsis linearis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Plants native to Central New Jersey
September 28, 2008 - What trees are native to Central New Jersey? Also, can you give me a website or information on plant life and tree life in Central New Jersey?
view the full question and answer

Wrapping a newly planted non-native Japanese maple from Fraser MI
October 01, 2013 - Does a newly planted Japanese maple need to be wrapped in burlap for the cold and snowy winter of Macomb County, Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Fan-Tex ash tree roots a problem near house foundation from Bryan TX
February 23, 2013 - DO I need to worry about Fan TX roots being a problem near house foundations?
view the full question and answer

Mystery tree with yellow fruit in MN
November 12, 2012 - There is a tree at my workplace, about 8' tall, with small, pea-sized yellow berries right now (Oct. 2012). The berries are attractive to Cedar Waxwings, and the tree has small leaves that are simple...
view the full question and answer

Madrone too close to house in Oregon
February 02, 2009 - I have a small Madrone tree (8ft tall) located approximatly 15 feet from my house, with a basement. Should I remove it? ie will it damage the foundation and is the tree strong enough that it will no...
view the full question and answer

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