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
5 ratings

Tuesday - February 10, 2009

From: Severn, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go native. Can you suggest a native alternative to these compact oriental beauties?

ANSWER:

Among the most difficult requests we receive are those for landscape plant recommendations..  Some of the issues to consider when choosing a new plant for your landscape are how the landscape will is used, how the plant will fit with other plants and features in the landscape, ultimate size of the new plant, soil, water, nutrition and maintenance needs of the plant, potential insect, disease, and pets and children poisoning problems, and, of course, personal aesthetic considerations.  Unfortunately, we cannot answer many of those questions; only you, the owner can do that.  However, we can make some suggestions for some plants that might work for you.  Here is a list of selected Maryland native plant species.  One or more of these plants might work for you as a replacement for your azaleas.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry),

Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub),

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea),

Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweetpepperbush),

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle),

Eubotrys racemosa (swamp doghobble),

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire),

Paxistima canbyi (Canby's mountain-lover),

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark),

Rhododendron arborescens (smooth azalea),

Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea),

Rhododendron prinophyllum (early azalea),

Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea),

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet),

Spiraea betulifolia (white spirea),

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush),

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry),

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry),

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)

 


Callicarpa americana

Calycanthus floridus

Ceanothus americanus

 


Clethra alnifolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Diervilla lonicera

Eubotrys racemosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hypericum prolificum

 


Ilex glabra

Itea virginica

Paxistima canbyi

Physocarpus opulifolius

Rhododendron arborescens

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Rhododendron periclymenoides

Spiraea alba

Spiraea tomentosa

Symphoricarpos albus

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Vaccinium angustifolium
 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
July 30, 2007 - I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? I...
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

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Plants to put beside driveway
June 24, 2008 - I have a 100 foot dying grassy side to my driveway. It is about 5 foot wide. What could I plant that would not look like soldiers but be at least 4 foot high and I could use mulch or needles to beauti...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen that Grows to Three Feet in Michigan
May 22, 2014 - I have searched your site and canít find what I need. I live in the middle of Michigan. I need a shrub that stays green year round and only grows to 3 feet or less.
view the full question and answer

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