En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - October 13, 2008

From: Victoria, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for a barrier hedge
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a native hedge I can plant to provide privacy? I have hostile neighbors behind me and would rather plant a hedge than put up a fence. I looked through the Virginia native species and didn't recognize any hedges. Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

It's a shame that Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) probably wouldn't thrive in Virginia. A native of the desert Southwest, it is also called the "babysitter plant" because baby lambs could be encircled with it and not even the coyotes would come through it. But, of course, there is always the problem that something stickery on one side is stickery on the other side. 

We do want to caution you that, while we can probably suggest some plants that would grow pretty densely and make passage through them uncomfortable, they are not going to grow up overnight. It could easily be five years or more before you will have sufficient height to feel you are sheltered from activity on the other side. There will be expense and labor involved in purchasing and planting the shrubs, and you will need to get enough that they will begin to grow together in a not too unreasonable length of time. So, be sure and weigh those factors against the cost and labor of putting up a fence, which would give you quicker separation, if not quite as attractive. The plants we suggest will all be native to North America and to Virginia, because that is what the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is all about, plants that are already adapted to the area in which they are being grown, which means they will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Our selections are all evergreen, as we assume you want summer and winter privacy. They are not necessarily "hedge" plants, but will grow fairly quickly and densely. These plants are all commercially available, and if you want sources where you can purchase them, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants. 

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)


Morella cerifera

Rhododendron maximum

Ilex glabra

Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana

 

 





 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Spots on leaves of Esperanza from Dallas
May 30, 2012 - Have a new 1 foot high Esperanza. It is flowering OK (so far) but it has small rust colored spots about the size of a B-B all over most of the leaves. On the top side of the leaf the spot is depress...
view the full question and answer

Pruning a mock orange in Charleston WV
March 30, 2009 - How far back and when do I prune a "Mock Orange" in order to get it to bloom?
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen, drought tolerant shrubs to plant next to driveway along property line in Austin, TX.
February 23, 2011 - Just moved to Austin, TX. What evergreen, drought tolerant shrubs could I plant by driveway, full sun, next to neighbors lawn. I don't want to mow, space is 3.5 ft. wide by 15ft. long. I thought ab...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) for Southern California
May 04, 2006 - Are there any fragrant varieties of azalea that will grow in Southern California? There are some wonderful native azaleas I found in North Carolina, such as the r. alabamense and r. atlanticum. I h...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center