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

Tuesday - December 02, 2008

From: McLean, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreen for privacy screen in Virginia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last year we lost a large pine that was part of privacy screen and we replaced it with two Eastern red cedars. There is still a substantial gap that won't be filled in by the cedars and we were considering some American hollies to provide textural contrast and wildlife benefit. Our nursery said that the hollies grow slowly and eventually get very large. Adjacent to the site are huge white pines that filter the light coming in. Do you have any suggestions for an evergreen of 15 feet max mature height that would grow faster than the holly and have wildlife value that would do well in this site? We are in Northern Virginia.

ANSWER:

The biggest problem here was your need for an evergreen plant. It is true that the hollies are evergreen, and Ilex opaca (American holly) has some dwarf cultivars that you might inquire about at your nursery. They are not fast-growing, and in order to have berries, you must have both male and female plants, with at least one male to every three or four females, and within about 30'. Beyond that, we found four plants that could suit your purposes. Follow the links to the webpage on each plant for more information, and go down to the bottom of that webpage to click on a link to Google on that plant. 

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - 6 to 12', occasionally taller, blooms white and pink June to September, part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun daily) to shade (less than 2 hours of sun), nectar for bees and butterflies, fruit for birds. Poisonous leaves.

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) - 12 to 20' shrub, white, pink blooms June, July, part shade. All parts poisonous.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - 12 to 20' shrub, can reach 20', fast growing, sun (over 6 hours of sun daily) to part shade, fragrant foliage, attracts many different birds

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel) - 4 to 15' tall, can grow to 30', white, pink blooms in June, part shade. All parts poisonous.


Cephalanthus occidentalis

Kalmia latifolia

Morella cerifera

Rhododendron maximum

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Spacing for wax myrtles as screen in Texas
December 21, 2008 - I have bought 30 wax myrtles, 15 gallon sized, and would like to plant them along my fence line, as a screen. How far apart is the recommended distance when planting plants of this size? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy screen
August 08, 2012 - Hello, We'd like to plant a privacy screen to hide our view of an adjacent apartment complex. Ideally the trees or other plantings might be a native species, and preferably they would eventually rea...
view the full question and answer

Need a privacy screen of native plants for swimming pool in Garden Ridge, TX
February 10, 2013 - We are building a pool and would like to use native plants as a screen around the fence, preferably a shrub that grows quickly to about 6 feet. Any suggestions? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for screen in Austin
November 02, 2008 - We are looking for a tall, fast growing, drought tolerant, evergreen hedge to run along our ~200' back property line in West Lake, west of Austin, TX. This is at the bottom of a slope, and runs th...
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