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

Sunday - December 28, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Narrow, evergreen shrub for privacy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in San Antonio and my backyard is all driveway except for a 2-3' space in front of a 6 ft chain fence. I'd like to find an evergreen narrow shrub for privacy. Would Nandina be a good choice? I need something fast growing, narrow, and not decidious.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants says:  "No! no! no!  not Nandina!"  Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) is an invasive non-native plant from China and Japan and we would never recommend using it in landscaping.   Below are some beautiful, evergreen native alternatives.  Your best bets are probably the first two.  They will provide the thickest screen and they can be trimmed to keep them from becoming too wide for the area:

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) and more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

Morella cerifera [syn. Myrica cerifera] (wax myrtle) and more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

The next two are a bit slower growing, but trim well into a hedge:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) with more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) with more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

The final two make a prickly evergreen hedge—in case you wanted to keep the neighbors from walking through it:

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) and more from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) and more from the Aggie Horticulture Database


Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Mahonia swaseyi

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for northwest-facing wall
June 09, 2012 - Can you suggest a tall (8-10') evergreen shrub for a site against a northwest-facing wall which gets no sun in the winter but full sun in the summer? Texas sage got too leggy and viburnum will be to...
view the full question and answer

Plants for soil with basalt outcroppings in Idaho
March 30, 2008 - We have basalt (lava) outcropping in part of our back yard and know we'll have to search for pockets of soil in which to plant. Any suggestions about what trees or shrubs would have a chance in thes...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife Attracting Plants for a Shady Patio
July 03, 2014 - We have a concrete patio that receives 2-3 hours of sunlight a day, so the only plants we will be able to grow will be in container. We are looking for plants that do well in shade, and containers and...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
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