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
4 ratings

Friday - April 17, 2009

From: Coram, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen native shrubs in Long Island, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to plant evergreen bushes (or trees)against my house facing north with no sun and growing no taller than 4 feet high. Any suggestions? I live in Coram, Long Island, New York

ANSWER:

Evergreen anything is something of a challenge in your USDA Hardiness Zone of 6a to 7b (-10 to +5 average annual minimum temperature). Finding something tolerant of no sun will be harder still. We are going to our Recommended Species Section, click on New York on the map, Narrow Your Search, and search first on shrubs and then on trees in Habit, with shade as the Light Requirement. We consider full sun to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, part shade 2 to 6 hours of sun, and shade less than 2 hours of sun. The only plant we found that comes close to your specifications is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), which we love because of the common name. Anyway, it is evergreen, is a spreading shrub growing only 1 to 3 feet tall, and can tolerate sun, part shade or shade. A couple of trees that are evergreen and can tolerate shade are Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), but it grows to 30 to 40 feet, and Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), which under cultivation grows to no more than 30 feet. If you were to plant trees that big, they would need to be some distance from the house, so the roots would not interfere with foundations or basements. Perhaps you will need to make a different plan for that area of your property. 


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
view the full question and answer

Identification of lantanas safe for use in Florida
February 10, 2008 - Why do you list lantana camara as a native to the U.S. and as a native plant in Florida? It is a category one invasive exotic on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's list of invasive exotics. La...
view the full question and answer

Problems on mock orange plant in England
August 20, 2008 - I have a small mock orange plant that is about 3 years old. It is currently in a 12 inch plant pot in full sun. It bloomed beautifully this year but the leaves on both the new and old growth are start...
view the full question and answer

Plants for heavy clay in Sonoma County, California
July 10, 2013 - Hi, I live in Northern California, Sonoma County, and would like to transition my front garden into mostly native plants. Trouble is, my soil is clay, yicky, heavy clay, and some of the natives I've ...
view the full question and answer

Information about a red-flowered Pavonia lasiopetala in central TX.
September 07, 2010 - I have grown Pavonia for years and just let it re-seed where it wants (and remove if I don't want it where it falls). This year I created a new 6 inch raised bed amended with compost and some manure...
view the full question and answer

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