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 - February 01, 2009

From: Arlington, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small shrubs for roof garden in Washington DC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a hardy evergreen shrub for a roof garden in DC. Needs to be 3-4 feet tall, evergreen, dense, survive the extreme wind, cold and heat.

ANSWER:

This is a tough call. The first thing that would come to mind are the conifers, which by nature are dense, wind-resistant, etc. However, they not only all grow very tall, but are difficult to transplant, and certainly would not survive long in a pot because of long taproots. The limit in height is a challenge with almost all shrubs we looked at, but many popular species are now available in dwarf or shorter versions. These are usually selections developed by nurseries from naturally shorter versions of the shrub. One of our favorite shrubs, probably because we love the name, is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick). This is low-growing, dense and evergreen, often used as a ground cover. The others are all members of the Ilex or holly genus, and all would either require extensive pruning or the use of a dwarf version to stay within your size specifications. These plants are Ilex glabra (inkberry), Ilex opaca (American holly) and Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

You can follow the links to pages on the individual shrubs, noting their prospective heights, blooms, etc. If you have difficulty locating the plants, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in the name of your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape and environmental consultants in your general area. They will have contact information so you can inquire about the availability, especially of dwarf versions.


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Ilex glabra

Ilex opaca

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Replacement of non-native red tip photinias in Midlothian VA
April 30, 2012 - I need to replace our long lived red tips. They are now diseased. I would like a fast growing bush that I can trim and make a hedge with. Any suggestions
view the full question and answer

Problems with yaupon from San Angelo TX
April 08, 2012 - We have a 3-yr-old yaupon holly entering its 3rd summer. We have put store-bought wood-chips under the tree several times since it was planted. A plant has grown under the tree, possibly out of the ...
view the full question and answer

Shrub to hide gas line and water faucet from Stamford CT
May 23, 2013 - I have a small garden ( 8'x10') in front of my house in southwestern Connecticut which faces north. It gets very limited sun and the eave hangs over it. I am looking for a shrub to plant up against ...
view the full question and answer

Colorful shrubs for Kansas
June 02, 2009 - I would like to plant some bushes or shrubs on the front side of our house which faces east. I would like them to grow 5' tall and provide beautiful color or blooms. What would be best for my locat...
view the full question and answer

Webworm on Texas Mountain Laurel in Texas
September 02, 2015 - I thought my mountain laurel had web worms and I sprayed for them. Now the plant looks like it still has the worms even though none are present. Also, I sprayed with a fungicide because some of the ...
view the full question and answer

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