Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Shrubs meeting homeowners assoc. requirements in Charlotte NC
May 11, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am doing my darndest to establish a bird and bee friendly patch of earth here in Charlotte, NC, but I'm having a terrible time finding a shrub that matches my homeowners...
view the full question and answer

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Making cuttings from purple sage in Austin, TX.
May 15, 2012 - I would like to plant additional purple sage for landscaping. May I do this with cuttings from an existing adult plant? If so, how and when would be the best method? I live in Lago Vista, TX
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados from San Antonio
August 26, 2011 - I have some very successful wildly blooming "Dwarf Pride of Barbados" plants growing in my xeriscape garden. Each year I cut them back to the ground. I have just purchased a new variety called "...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.