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

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

Chlorosis in Texas Wisteria from Blanco TX
November 05, 2012 - Just noticed a Texas Wisteria I bought last month and it is already looking chlorotic. Mixed compost in w/the dirt it is planted in but I don't think that will be enough. Is Blanco soil too alkaline?...
view the full question and answer

Is cement leaching into flower beds in Colorado Springs?
May 16, 2009 - I have posed this question to a number of garden centers in our area around Colorado Springs--only to rec. a repeated--"Gee, I don't know." When we moved to our new home there was a rock concrete ...
view the full question and answer

Restoring a prairie from Austin
January 11, 2013 - Restoring a mixed grass Blackland Prairie? Prairie Plant Succession? We are trying to establish climax species when an area is in a pioneering phase. Does the soil chemistry or biota change during ...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of growing oak-leaf hydrangea in Comal County, TX
January 08, 2005 - In the last issue of the magazine, there was an item about the oak leaf hydrangea which stated the plant's habitat is east of the Mississippi River. Can it be grown in Comal County? Any special nee...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves of Texas Sage (Cenizo) from Las Vegas NV
November 21, 2013 - Leaves of Texas Sage are turning yellow. Can you tell me why?
view the full question and answer

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