En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Dwarf evergreen shrub for windowboxes in Staten Island , NY

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
1 rating

Thursday - April 03, 2008

From: Staten Island , NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Dwarf evergreen shrub for windowboxes in Staten Island , NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Could you recommend a dwarf evergreen shrub, not deciduous that also has pretty flowers that would thrive in a container in the northeast...area would have sun for about 4 -5 hrs per day. Is there a small evergreen that would survive in window boxes all year here? Something that would look great all year round? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Would also like to string white lights on front lawn tree all year round...do you know of a resource where I could purchase commercial quality, low voltage lighting? Thank you very much

ANSWER:

Last question first, electricity stuff is WAY our of our line. We try to ignore electricity altogether, hoping it will work and not bother us. You can probably find a good selection at any of the big home improvement stores, that seems to be the sort of thing they carry a lot of.

Your other request, for year round evergreen shrubs that will thrive in a container, is difficult. It's a little hard to tell from this USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for the Northeast U.S., but it looks like Staten Island is in Zone 5a, which means you will have average minimum temperatures of -15 deg to -20 deg. While we may be able to find some evergreen shrubs that could, with careful pruning, remain in a windowbox for some time, remember that when a plant is in the ground, its roots are insulated by the whole Earth. When it is in a windowbox, they are insulated with a few inches of potting soil. In very low temperatures, covering the plant will do the roots no good. If the roots freeze, the plant dies. We found precisely two shrubs that are considered evergreen in New York, Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) and Ilex opaca (American holly). Neither of these will necessarily stay in bounds or permit pruning that would keep them small. There are a few conifers that stay evergreen there, but they have long, deep roots, and could not survive in a container.

We would refer you again, as we did the last time you wrote, to The Cornell University Department of Horticulture website on Trees and Shrubs for more local information.


Gaultheria procumbens

Gaultheria procumbens

Ilex opaca

Ilex opaca

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Non-native bougainvillea in Beaufort SC
July 06, 2011 - Bougainvillea-Can I grow these in Beaufort SC?
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of Acerola bush for Conway AR
January 25, 2013 - How far north can you grow an Acerola bush? I live in Conway, AR, which is north of Little Rock.We used to be Zone 7, but now we are on the edge of Zone 8, I believe.
view the full question and answer

Is slow growth of young Tx mountain laurel normal?
July 02, 2012 - My Texas mountain laurel is 2 or 3 years old and is about 4 feet tall. It seems quite healthy but has grown very little, if any, and has never bloomed. Is this normal? Although I don't want it to gro...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping plant for Austin
September 01, 2011 - Great site! Have gotten lots of ideas. We're about to start construction on a fairly major landscaping project: raised beds/privacy screen. We're at the top of a hill in the Hill Country just wes...
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