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

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

Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
May 21, 2013 - I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
view the full question and answer

Beauty Berry Without Berries.
October 08, 2014 - I have a beautyberry that has no berries. I have some 3 year old bushes that are not producing berries. They are in semi-shade and I fertilize them. The bushes are green and growing but no berries....
view the full question and answer

Male and Female Rhus virens Differences?
June 27, 2015 - I would like to plant a Rhus virens in my yard to attract birds. I want to make sure I get a female plant so there will be berries. How can I tell a male from a female plant?
view the full question and answer

Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
August 14, 2012 - Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Ailing Tecoma stans from Phoenix AZ
August 24, 2012 - I have several young Tecoma plants in my Phoenix, AZ garden. I planted them in June and have tended to them over the summer. They are watered twice daily. On some of the plants, I've noticed two oddi...
view the full question and answer

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