Why don't you always have madrone trees for sale at your nursery?
As native plant growers, one of our main concerns is providing the best product that we can. This often entails considerable expense, trial and error, research, and luck. The Texas madrone (Arbutus xalapensis) exemplifies most, if not all, of the problems that we face. We are still looking for the unique specimen or set of growing conditions that will ensure that the tree we sell will be successful in a variety of landscape settings.
Most madrones found in the nursery trade today, when transplanted to the landscape, die within a few years. The gardener thinks that it is something they may have done to kill the plant, when the truth is that the majority do not survive in cultivation.
Our current approach is to grow and sell madrones inexpensively as seedlings when we have seed available. This allows for more genetic diversity and also enhances the chance that you will get a tree that will adapt and prosper.
Some people have reported success stories with their madrones and we applaud their efforts. We have heard that planting the trees on steeply sloping, well-drained limestone soil near cedar trees or using composted soil from around cedar trees in the planting mix helps improve their longivity.
If you are having good success with madrones in cultivation, let us hear from you. We will pass along any information that you provide to help others be successful in growing this striking native tree.