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Common Name:

Barbados Cherry

Scientific Name:

Malpighia glabra

Family Name:

Malpighiaceae

Description:

Barbados Cherry is a dense twiggy multi-stem small to medium size evergreen shrub. The small medium to dark green leaves, densely branching fine textured stems, and suckering make this plant a good substitute for Boxwoods (Buxus spp.) for formal sheared hedges in the southern half of Texas. The diminutive flowers are fragrant and mildly showy. In warmer parts of the region, small red drupes can be of interest. This shrub has fairly rapid growth, good tolerance to heat, drought, and some salt exposure once established.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, small shrub, medium shrub, tropical

Exposure:

sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

White-pink to dark pink, 0.5 inch to 0.75 inch in diameter, in 3 to 7-flowered umbels.

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Small 0.5 inch diameter red drupe, resembles a cherry,

Height:

4 ft to 8 ft (9 ft)

Width:

4 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

7.00
Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Scales, nematodes, white flies, and spider mites are occasional problems, but cold tolerance is the biggest limiting factor.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.