Question of the Week
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You know, we have a lot of great trees that don't get that large. They're good for landscapes that are smaller, but they're great on large properties, too. A cluster of small flowering trees adds a nice design accent, from form to flowers.
Mountain laurel is perhaps our most famous small flowering tree. It's sort of a poster child for all the native plants in Texas. A good, hardy, evergreen specimen, it is most spectacular for its incredibly fragrant purple spring blooms.
Anacacho orchid or bauhinia is another good choice—it doesn't get very large—only about ten feet tall. It has lots of white blooms in the spring, sputtering out a few more throughout the year. It's extremely tough and hardy and does very well in drought.
Crape myrtles are always a good choice even though they're not native. But, be sure to check out the varieties, since they do come in many different sizes. It's better to select the correct one for your application, rather than saw it back each year. Be sure to select one of the newer mildew-resistant varieties, too.
Eve's necklace is another good choice. Related to mountain laurel, it has white blooms in spring, followed by trademark dark seedpods.
Redbuds are another good one. If you choose a redbud, don't go with the Eastern redbud; choose either the Texas or Mexican redbud which perform better in our drought conditions. Their leaves are rounder and more glossy than the Eastern leaves, which have a point at the bottom. A nursery that specializes in native plants can sell you a Texas or a Mexican Redbud and it will do very well here, plus give you those spring blooms.
Mexican Olive is a little bit cold tender, but I still like to plant them. When we have a good cold winter, you could lose them or lose them back to the ground. But they have beautiful white blooms; they're a small tree that's great in a courtyard or even a very large container.
And finally, retama stands out with its green truck, beautiful bright yellow flowers and lacy leaves. Retama would be really good in a courtyard where you want to have some light coming underneath it. It is thorny, so needs to be set out of heavy traffic.
Find out more about these and other small trees at growgreen.org.