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

Friday - April 10, 2009

From: Crozet, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Short evergreen shrub for Virginia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have been looking everywhere for an evergreen shrub that is 3-4 ft. in height, non-poisonous to humans, and that thrives in zone 7 to no avail. Please help!

ANSWER:

The height you are looking for is a bigger barrier than the USDA Hardiness Zone in which the shrub will survive. We found one shrub native to Virginia, Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern), that is 2 to 4 feet tall and evergreen.  Two other of our favorite evergreen shrubs, Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) and Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) grow too tall for your specifications, but have dwarf cultivars available in the commercial trade. Ilex vomitoria "Nana' grows 3 to 5 ft.,  Ilex vomitoria 'Stokes Dwarf' grows 3 to 4 ft. tall. A dwarf version Morella cerifera 'Don's Dwarf' grows 4 to 6 ft. tall, and 'pumila' is usually less than 3 ft tall. All of these plants are hardy to Zone 7, and low maintenance. None of them are known to have any toxicity for humans.

With the exception of the sweet fern, the pictures below are of the full-size shrubs, just to give you an idea of the texture and general appearance you may expect to see in the dwarves.


Comptonia peregrina

Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Noise buffering by native plants in Austin, TX
March 30, 2008 - I live in Austin in a neighborhood that is bordered on one side by highway 183 and on the other by MoPac and the train tracks. Even though I am least a three blocks from the closest highway, the traf...
view the full question and answer

Non-flowering Tecoma stans from Palm Coast FL
August 18, 2012 - I have an adult tecoma stans that flowered for a few days in the spring and has not flowered since. What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Flowering and evergreen shrubs for landscape in Indiana
May 29, 2010 - I live in Southern Indiana and we are getting ready to redesign our front landscape. Currently, we have some yews and other shrubs that are unruly and require a lot of pruning and care. My husband hat...
view the full question and answer

Has overwatering harmed cherry laurels in Austin?
September 27, 2011 - I am so upset. I know we've been having a terrible drought this year in Austin, and I've been trying to balance water conservation with protecting our recent very large investment for massive lands...
view the full question and answer

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
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