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

Evergreen shrub with dense base for screen in Austin
November 11, 2010 - I just bought a house in Austin and am looking for an evergreen shrub to use as a thick hedge between my elevated yard and a bus stop. The only shrubs I can come up with tend to get thin toward the b...
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen for privacy screen
May 15, 2008 - I want to incorporate a tree in my landscaping near my house (10-15 feet) for privacy, what are the best trees that don't shed their leaves and have nice flowers and their roots wont destroy my found...
view the full question and answer

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
May 01, 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center