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
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

Plants to augment a privacy fence in Virginia Beach.
February 24, 2009 - I live in Virginia Beach, VA and I have a small back yard about 75 ft deep and 60 ft wide. We have a six ft privacy fence but still have many undesirable views over the fence I would love to block out...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for pool from Southlake TX
April 21, 2012 - I have a row of 7 live oaks that help block my neighbors two story house. Unfortunately, there is a gap between each tree of about 8 feet wide and 15 feet tall (from ground to the first branches/ leav...
view the full question and answer

Vines for Madison, Wisconsin
March 12, 2015 - What are some good options for non-aggressive native vines for southern Wisconsin? I am looking for something that can cover a chain-link fence and benefit local insects. I don't want it to take ov...
view the full question and answer

Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
December 29, 2011 - We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story espec...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen Tree for Patio in NC
April 15, 2013 - What is a good tree to plant in front of a brick wall/fence to provide privacy and not compromise the structural integrity of the wall? The brick fence is my neighbors but I need privacy as they can s...
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