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 - December 26, 2006

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Viability of Desert Willow and Hong Kong Orchid Tree in Spring Branch, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live in Spring Branch, Rt 281 north of San Antonio. We want to plant a Regal Desert Willow tree and a Hong Kong Orchid tree. Will the cold / freeze be a problem? Where locally can we purchase the trees 3 - 5 gal size.

ANSWER:

The Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is native to southern California, northern Mexico and western Texas, but has now been naturalized to areas as far north as Kansas and Utah. It is cold hardy in USDA Zones 7B - 11. Spring Branch in Zone 8b is well within the range. Here are further instructions for its care from the University of Florida Extension Service.

The Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia blakeana), as its name suggests, is not native to Texas and its hardiness rating is USDA Zones 9B-11. You might get away with planting it in a very protected area or in a large container that could be moved to a protected place in case of freezing weather; or, you might consider a native species of Bauhinia, the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides). It is good to Zone 8.

To find a nursery near you specializing in native plants, you can visit our National Suppliers Directory. You can also try the PlantNative database. There are many duplications between the two databases, but each also has unique entries.

 

More Trees Questions

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy screen in California
May 31, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smartypants, We are first-time home-buyers of a cute little house and a relatively large lot in Pacific Grove, CA. Unfortunately the neighbors to the north have built a second story with a nic...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to grow to 6 feet tall with flowers and non-toxic
November 04, 2013 - I live in South Texas, and in town. I am looking for plant that grows taller than 6 feet and is non toxic to people and pets. Would also like for it to be pest and disease free or minimal. Need it ...
view the full question and answer

Black Sap from Live Oak in Austin, Texas
April 20, 2015 - We live in South Austin and our neighbor has several beautiful, enormous Live Oak trees whose canopies hang over into our yard. This past week, they've begun dripping some sort of black sap all over ...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel and Desert Willow in pots or ground in Brady, TX
May 09, 2006 - I would really appreciate your advice if a Texas Mountain Laurel (now a 1 gal. size) and a Desert Willow (now a 3 gal.) are good candidates for planting in containers and, if so, what size for each? ...
view the full question and answer

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