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

Saturday - January 31, 2009

From: Aledo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Native shrubs to replace non-native boxwood in Parker County, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking to replace some Japanese Boxwoods my wife planted years ago with some native plants, they run along the front of our house next to the foundation and porch about 60' in length. I prefer plants under 3' to avoid pruning, and would like to plant a variety. FYI we live just inside Parker County with the Black Land Prairie Clay/Dirt and the boxwoods have done fine they just don't go with the ranch style updates we've made.

ANSWER:

We're really very happy to hear you are replacing those non-native plants with natives; while neither of them are invasive, they nevertheless don't do as well in Texas as a plant native to the area. Your boxwood is probably Buxus microphylla, native to Japan and Taiwan.  Buxus sempervirens, sometimes referred to as "American boxwood," is actually native to England, Europe, Asia, Africa and Morocco. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we believe you are much better off with plants native not only to North America but to North Central Texas.

We will go to our Recommended Plants section, click on North Central Texas, NARROW YOUR SEARCH, clicking on "Shrubs" under Habit. Since we don't know what your sun exposure or soil moisture is, we will not check those, but you can go back later and make your own selections. These plants are all commercially available, and if you have difficulty locating them, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you'll get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environmental consultants in your general area. We recommend that you get these shrubs planted soon, as woody plants are much better planted in cool weather, when they are semi-dormant. We also think it would be a good idea to freshen up the dirt in the holes where you have removed the boxwood; add some compost or other organic material to provide nutrition and also to make trace minerals in the soil available to the roots of the plants. 

It turns out there is actually a native plant, Paxistima myrsinites (Oregon boxleaf), which has "boxwood" as one of its common names. It is not related to the non-native boxwoods, and grows pretty low, but at least take a look at it, it has a rather nice appearance. Although it is called "Oregon boxleaf" in our Native Plant Database, it is also native to Texas. We have chosen evergreen shrubs, and some (for instance, yaupon) ordinarily grow taller than your specified heights, but dwarf or smaller cultivars may be available. These shrubs are Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) and Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)


Paxistima myrsinites

Ilex vomitoria

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

 

 


 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Low-growing evergreen shrubs for Bellville , TX
February 02, 2010 - I live north of Bellville, TX and have a 3-tiered retaining wall on the west and north sides of my house. What low growing (around 2' tall) evergreen shrubs would be good to plant here. The west si...
view the full question and answer

Information on various plants from Alamo TX
November 15, 2009 - Have you heard of the following plants: Butterfly Iris,Compact Nanpina, Red Dwarf Turks? I would like to know some details on the above plant: size, flowers?, drought tolerant, where to plant Thanki...
view the full question and answer

Shelf life of hawthorn leaves in Florissant, MO
April 30, 2009 - I have a bag of hawthorn leaves that were harvested in 2007. Do you know if they're still effective? How long is the shelf life of hawthorn leaves? Thank you for your assistance.
view the full question and answer

Removing existing shrubs from Grapevine TX
September 24, 2012 - We just bought a house and we have some shrubs and hedges we want to remove. What is the best way to remove them so that they don't grow back? We have some holly hedges, a very large cedar or juniper...
view the full question and answer

Large-scale container garden for New York City
August 17, 2013 - I am a community volunteer in NYC who is trying to help a non-profit set up two large container gardens (about 3 feet high by 4 feet long by 2 or so feet wide). The problem is that they want natives,...
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