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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - May 15, 2014

From: Ann Arbor, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small Shrub for a Foundation Planting in Michigan
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I need a small, native, perennial shrub for a foundation planting in Michigan.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plants Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Michigan, Habit – Shrub, Duration – Perennial, and Light Requirement – Sun (or part shade, or shade depending on which side of the house you are planting). Then select the soil moisture that you have – dry, moist or wet and the height you have available for your shrub. You can also narrow the search by indicating blooming color and blooming time.

Some shrubs (1-3 ft.) for example that might fit your requirements include:
 

Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)

Ledum groenlandicum (bog Labrador tea)

Vaccinium uliginosum (alpine blueberry)

Vaccinium vitis-idaea (lingonberry)


Some taller (3-6 ft.) native shrubs include:
 

Amelanchier stolonifera (running serviceberry)

Spirea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet)

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Bog rosemary
Andromeda polifolia

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Bog labrador tea
Ledum groenlandicum

Alpine blueberry
Vaccinium uliginosum

Lingonberry
Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Running serviceberry
Amelanchier stolonifera

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

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Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
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Blueberries in Arlington TX
August 25, 2009 - Which wild or native blueberries can I grow in Arlington Texas? I think it is zone 8?
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Heirloom plants for Gault Homestead in Austin
April 15, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, The Gault Homestead at 2106 Klattenhoff in the middle of Wells Branch Subdivision is to be planted with heirloom or heritage plants soon. There is some sun for the planter bo...
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Native shrub for Chesterfield VA
April 02, 2014 - 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.
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Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
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