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

Wednesday - April 02, 2014

From: Chesterfield, VA
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Deer Resistant, Shrubs
Title: Native shrub for Chesterfield VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Need a native shrub for the north side of our house that is deer resistant, not overly sensitive to wind, and can tolerate clay soil. Preferably 3-8 feet. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

We will go to our Recommended Species section, click on Virginia on the United States map and this will give us a list of 123 Recommended Plants native to Virginia. Using the selection list on the right side of that page, we will select on "shrub" under HABIT, and 3-6 ft. under HEIGHT.

Telling us the location is on the north side doesn't do us as much good as telliing us how much sunlight there is at the selected spot. The choices are SUN, (6 hours or more of sun a day), PART SHADE (2 to 6 hours of sun) and SHADE (2 hours or less). Having that in mind you can make the same selections and either indicate a taller or shorter range of heights and/or an amount of light and see what kind of results you will get.

Sensitivity to wind is more a function of how sturdy a plant grows to be; if it's wispy with long slender branches, or woody and solid, with shorter stouter branches. Deer resistant is one of the most requested characteristics and comes from just about every state.

On DEER RESISTANT, we went to Recommended Species again, under National Collections this time clicking on Deer Resistant. This gave us a list of 344 plants that deer tend to avoid in North America. We then sorted on that list by choosing Virginia on the State, which gave us this list of 2 plants native to Virginia, that had all the other attributes and deer resisitance.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) - moderately resistant

Ceanothus herbaceus (Redroot) - highly resistant

We then found another plant that had no indication on deer resisitance at all, but we found an article that said it was wind resistant.

Comptonia peregrina (Sweet fern) - From the Missouri Botanical Garden:

"Adaptable plant that tolerates wet conditions and wind (including sheltered seashore areas), drought and a wide range of soils (prefers sandy, acidic loams, but tolerates poor soils)."

Now, perhaps you can see how difficult it is to find the "perfect" plant. We always begin by selecting plants native to your area, and work out from there. You can follow each of the plants links on your own, discovering what soils, moisture and sunlight needs each plant has. By scrolling down that webpage to "Additional Resources," you can search on Google for more information on that particular plant. If you just want to search our Native Plant Database, you can scroll down that page to Combination Search and make your selections based on state, habit, moisture, etc.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Redroot
Ceanothus herbaceus

Sweet fern
Comptonia peregrina

More Shrubs Questions

Bottlebrush buckeye not leafing out from Newburyport MA
June 11, 2013 - We have a bottlebrush buckeye bush that has grown and blossomed for 16 years. This spring the bush failed to produce any leaves and there are no buds in anticipation of leaves. There are a few smaller...
view the full question and answer

Need trees & shrubs for a 2.5x45 ft. planter box in Chatsworth. CA.
August 07, 2012 - We recently built a pool in our backyard and need to redo all the landscaping. We have a planter that is 45 feet long and about 2.5 feet wide. We'd like to put some trees in this planter that are n...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a lakeside bank in NC
November 07, 2011 - Our association is looking to plant a huge sloped area that runs down to Lake Wylie. We want to plant something that is good for erosion and that does not grow too tall so that we keep our view of th...
view the full question and answer

Yaupon hollies dying mysteriously
July 16, 2014 - I have a row of yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) that I keep trimmed like a hedge. They were all healthy for many years. Two years ago one of them died and I removed it, leaving a gap in the line of h...
view the full question and answer

Yaupon sprouts from Bennettsville SC
May 29, 2013 - I have Yaupons in a flower bed and they have too many shoots to pull up, can I spray them with roundup and not kill the bush and what strength should I use?
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