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

Small evergreen shrubs for Fairfax VA
May 13, 2010 - I have a 2' wide 6' long strip between a brick wall and the front walk leading up to the entry way. Lavender has been a pain and I would like to replace it with an attractive evergreen alternate. ...
view the full question and answer

Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
August 14, 2012 - Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen, flowering hedge shrub for GA.
February 12, 2009 - Hi, there! I am looking for a shrub for planting as a hedge in Decatur, GA. I have hard acidic clay and I would like an evergreen flowering shrub to line the edges of my backyard to separate it from...
view the full question and answer

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Perennial Suggestions for Under Ash Trees in Minnesota
June 12, 2013 - With our house we have inherited 2 ash trees in our front yard with a large amount landscaping underneath. I'm replacing the landscaping but there are tree roots at the surface preventing me from bei...
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