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

Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
March 25, 2013 - What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
view the full question and answer

Leaf loss on Cenizo in Bertram TX
November 17, 2009 - I need help with a purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) problem. Most of one of my plants started having paler, more greyish leaves, then the leaves began to fall off. It seemed to still look healthy...
view the full question and answer

Red berries growing along county road in Caldwell County, Texas
September 06, 2014 - Hello, first I would like to thank you for your time. I thank it's great that you guys and girls answer questions (I'm sure y'all are busy). That being said I will get to the question. On the sides...
view the full question and answer

Skin allergies; is Juniper the culprit in Simi Valley, CA?
July 21, 2012 - My husband and I have had terrible skin allergy problems this spring (for me it's been 3 years) and think it may be the juniper bushes outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Is there a fast growin...
view the full question and answer

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center