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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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Sunday - March 24, 2013

From: Amarillo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant
Title: Tolerance of plants in area of Amarillo TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to know tolerance in the Amarillo area for Diospyros texana, Berberis trifoliata, and Capsicum annuum where it gets colder, is dry, and intensely hot in summer.

ANSWER:

The only way we can tell you that, since we have not personally gardened in Amarillo, is to check the webpages on each page and, with other research, determine the normal USDA Hardiness Zone for each plant. Amarillo is considered to be in Zone 7, and is termed a "semi-arid" climate.

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) - considered tolerant to Zone 7. It is not shown on this USDA Plant Profile Map as growing natively any closer than Martin County.

From our webpage on that plant:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, limestone loams, clays, and caliche.
Conditions Comments: North of the Rio Grande Valley where winters are cold, will usually be deciduous. From the Rio Grande Valley southward, will be semi-deciduous-to-evergreen, losing its leaves all at once in early spring like live oaks, with no period of bareness."

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) synonym Berberis trifoliata) - native to several counties in northern Panhandle, Plant Profile Map. Hardy to Zone 6.

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Rocky, limestone soil.
Conditions Comments: This evergreen shrub has rigid, spreading branches often forming thickets. Gray-green to blue-gray, trifoliate, holly-like foliage has needle-sharp tips. Clusters of fragrant, yellow flowers are followed by red berries from May to July. Songbirds eat the fruits, and quail and small mammals use the plant for cover. It is considered a good honey source."

Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin)-

Mostly a south Texas plant, but since it can be both an annual or a perennial, if it freezes back, it will have either reseeded itself or can be reseeded. Plant Profile Map. Hardiness zone 9 to 11.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: clay, heavy clay, sandy loam
Conditions Comments: The Chile pequin is a much sought after perennial native hot pepper that is well behaved in the garden. It is an easy to grow favorite that the birds will also appreciate. Chile pequins will grow with sun or shade and respond to good care with more growth and fruits. The fruits are edilble and on the hot side as a seasoning. Beautiful when used in mass plantings.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

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