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

Shaping cenizo in Duncanville TX
October 02, 2009 - Our Silverado Sage, which we expected to be 4' to 5' high and wide based on the label when we purchased it about 10 years ago, is nearly 7' tall and very random in shape (not the evenly rounded sha...
view the full question and answer

Native NW Pennsylvania Plants for Soap
November 06, 2014 - Are there any plants in northwest Pennsylvania that can be used as soap?
view the full question and answer

Edibility of Washington Hawthorn berries from Williamsport PA
February 22, 2014 - Please tell me if Washington Hawthorn berries and leaves are edible and if so, how to prepare them. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Problems with Carolina Laurel Cherry from Pflugerville, TX
September 02, 2011 - In 2007 we planted 7 Carolina Laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana)across our back fence. Everything was fine until this year. Three of the trees seemed to get sick and a local arborist said the roots ne...
view the full question and answer

Dog Friendly Privacy Hedge for Long Island
April 14, 2013 - Can you please advise me of some plants for a privacy hedge that are non-toxic to dogs and that would thrive on Long Island, NY? I am looking for a hedge to grow to about 6-8 ft.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center