En Español

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

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs meeting homeowners assoc. requirements in Charlotte NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am doing my darndest to establish a bird and bee friendly patch of earth here in Charlotte, NC, but I'm having a terrible time finding a shrub that matches my homeowners' association requirements. I finally got permission to pull out the builder boxwoods and hollies, and they want me to put in a line of evergreen bushes. I really want a native plant, but I can't find one that won't grow over about 3 feet. The area gets full sun all day long and is on a slope, so it's hot and dry. I'm planning to put a cutting garden around the bushes, so it'll get a good watering once a week or so. I don't mind trimming once or maybe twice a year, but I don't want anything that has to be babied along. Secretly, I'm hoping to find a plant that isn't in every other yard in Charlotte (I can do azaleas if I absolutely have to, but I'd rather not). Can you help me?

ANSWER:

We wouldn't recommend azaleas, either. There are azaleas native to the American South, but there are also a lot of hybrids and non-natives being sold. The main problem in your situation is that you have full sun and azaleas usually need shade (less than 2 hours of sun a day) to part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day). To our knowledge, there are very few evergreen shrubs native to your area that grow no more than 3 ft. tall; however, there are dwarf cultivars or selections of several. We will give you links to some websites discussing those shrubs. These are all evergreen, have berries and attract birds, and can be pruned, if necessary to keep within a required height. You might also be interested in reading our How-To Article Butterfly Gardening.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) dwarf selections:

'Stokes Dwarf'- North Carolina State University

'Nana' North Carolina State University

'Schillings Dwarf'   University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) dwarf selections:

Morella pumilla - Duke University

'Don's Dwarf' - Magnolia Nurseries

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Climbing options for a Coral honeysuckle in Austin Texas
April 16, 2013 - Regarding Coral honeysuckle, what is the best support to encourage continued spread, chicken-wire/fencing? Currently the plants and vines are on fencing and beginning to fold over. I'd like to add...
view the full question and answer

Low-Maintenance Hedge for Massachusetts
February 17, 2014 - I want to put in a native low-maintenance hedge in a sunny spot with plants that can take dry soil. I would like the plants to grow to less than 4 feet wide. It can be an informal hedge, but I don't ...
view the full question and answer

Mystery shrub in Michigan
July 18, 2011 - I live in the upper peninsula of Michigan and noticed a shrub in the woods that has large clusters of small red, what I would call berries on it. Can you give me some n...
view the full question and answer

Roses being attacked by spider mites
January 18, 2008 - My roses are being eaten alive by spider mites. I read that this area of Texas has a huge problem with these devils! I've tried everything to kill them to no avail! Can you help me? Gratefully yours,...
view the full question and answer

Large-scale container garden for New York City
August 17, 2013 - I am a community volunteer in NYC who is trying to help a non-profit set up two large container gardens (about 3 feet high by 4 feet long by 2 or so feet wide). The problem is that they want natives,...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center