En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - January 27, 2014

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Cenizo for border of school garden from Cedar Park TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi. We're starting a school garden in Central Texas, and instead of building a fence along one side, we'd like to plant a hedge. Ideally, it would grow tall enough to deter deer from jumping over, be drought tolerant (it is full sun, but there are sprinklers, I believe), evergreen, and perhaps not attract bees. I love the idea of Texas sage, but I wonder if a 60' hedge of it would attract huge amounts of bees. Do you have any other suggestions? Thank you!

ANSWER:

We feel that Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) is an excellent choice for your purpose. Follow that plant link  to our webpage on the plant where you will learn it requires low water and can bloom (dependent on the amount of rain it gets) 12 months out of the year. See these Growing Conditions:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: According to legend, cenizo tends to bloom in conjunction with rainfall. Cenizo is easy to grow so long as it has good drainage. Though this species is the most irrigation-tolerant of the genus, it is susceptible to cotton root rot if soil does not have good drainage and remains moist. Humidity and high night temperatures are lethal. Cenizos should not be fertilized or over-watered. Drought- and heat-tolerant. During very cold winters, may lose a few leaves."

Now let's look at the possibility of attracting bees. You need to realize that all vascular plants must bloom in some form in order to propagate themselves and must also have pollinators for the same reason. Acording to this website, North American Butterfly Association on pollinators of Cenizo, it attracts many pollnators but not necessarily all butterflies. So, when it is blooming, and if it is at a time of year when the bees are active, there are going to be honeybees visiting it. From the Art of Beekeeping - The Honeyplants and Times of Central Texas, Cenizo is not considered a major nectar source. So,we don't think you should discard the possibility of using this shrub on the grounds of attracting bees. 

On the question of water, we very much hope the shrub will NOT be in the range of sprinkler systems. This is a dry ground desert plant, and regular sprinkler waterings can literally drown its roots. Read again "Condition Comments," above, from our webpage on this plant.

Finally, the subject of thwarting deer from jumping over the hedge. Again, following this link, Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), look under BENEFITS and you will see this plant is highly deer resistant. The deer just don't care for it, but if conditions are very bad they will eat nearly anything that doesn't run away to keep from starving. That doesn't mean the cenizo will repel the deer. On that same webpage in the first paragraph, here is the best information on the size of Cenizo:

"Typically a compact shrub, 2-5 ft. tall, Texas barometer-bush or cenizo occasionally reaches 8 ft. in height, and 4-6 ft. in width."

Deer will ordinarily only be out at night, when there should be no school children endangered by jumping deer, so it's more a matter of whether there is anything inside that barrier that would attract the deer to jump in. Lush tropical plants and  tender flowering trees in that school yard might attract them but deer generally don't care for grasses.

The Cenizo certainly sounds good to us, as it is one of our favorite plants, but only those making the plans can really make the decision.

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer eating creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata)
November 04, 2008 - We have Creosote Bushes (Larrea tridentata) that grow wild on out 10 acres. The deer eat those plants all year 'round. Probably more in the dry times of the year. Just wanted to let you know that t...
view the full question and answer

Does deer repellant really work from Hope NJ
November 10, 2009 - Does Deer Stopper by Messina Wildlife really work as an organic pest repellent?
view the full question and answer

Deer and rabbit repelling plants at nature sanctuary in Waterford VA
May 11, 2010 - We have established a native pollinator garden at our nature sanctuary. Last summer deer and perhaps rabbits devastated it. Now people are proposing surrounding it with boxwood which deer don't like-...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant native plants for Michigan
June 06, 2008 - I am looking for a deer-resistant ground cover for a mid-to-northern Michigan (lower peninsula), which can grow in completely sandy soil. Thanks for any advice.
view the full question and answer

Deer proof ground cover for sunny area in Mississippi
June 09, 2012 - I am looking for a low ground cover that will thrive in a sunny location and is deer proof
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center