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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Sunday - November 29, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.

ANSWER:

There are two plants in our Native Plant Database with one of its common names being "prairie wattle." The first is Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia). This is a 1 to 3 foot tall ground cover type plant, blooms white June to September, has low water use and grows in sun (6 hours or more of sun a day) to part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day). "Soil Description: Sandy, Limestone-based, Calcareous; Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay; Well-drained"

The second member of the Legume, or pea, family in this genus is Acacia angustissima var. texensis (prairie wattle), which is a taller, more tree-like plant. This plant grows from 6 to 12 ft. tall, has low water use and can grow in sun, part shade or shade (less than 2 hours of sun a day). Conditions comments: "Will do well in dry soil on a north or east exposure, but will need water in the summer on a south or west exposure."

These plants are both thornless, and will die to the ground after the first hard freeze, returning in the Spring. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Acacia angustissima

Acacia angustissima var. texensis

 

 

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