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

Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: Canton, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Hardy shrub for Canton, MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an 8' x 8' area between my front walk and driveway. I am interested in filling up the space (especially in height) with a shrub or tree. This area gets a lot of wind in the cold MI winter, so I need something hardy. I have tried a privet and Miss Kim's lilac so far, and both have died.

ANSWER:

The main thing is to find a plant native to your area that is already adapted to your climate, rainfall and soil. That's what we do at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, recommend plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Those plants will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. For instance, Syringa vulgaris, common lilac, is hardy in Zones 3b to 7, and is shown on the USDA Plant Profile as growing in or near Wayne County. However, it is native to the Balkans, France and Turkey.  Privet, widely used for a hedge plant, is a Ligustrum, possibly Ligustrum vulgare, common privet. It is hardy from Zones 5 to 8, shown growing in or near Wayne County, but is native to Central Europe, North Africa, and Southwestern Asia. That is not to say that the only reason your previous plants died was their nativity, but they probably were simply not well adapted to the environment.

You did not specify if you wanted evergreen plants, if the sun exposure was sun or shade, what kind of soil you have or what height you were looking for, so we will go to our Native Plant Database, select some plants that we can ascertain live in or near Wayne County, MI.  You can follow the weblinks to pages on the individual plants and see if any of them suit your purposes.

Shrubs for Canton, MI

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft., blooms white, pink June to September, high water use, part shade or shade

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) - deciduous, conspicuous red twigs in winter, 6 to 12 ft tall, blooms white May and June, part shade

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) - deciduous to 3 ft tall, blooms yellow June to August, high water use, part shade or shade

Juniperus communis var. depressa (common juniper) - evergreen, 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms yellow, sun Pictures

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) - deciduous, 15 to 30 ft. tall, blooms  red, yellow, green June and July, low water use, sun, part shade or shade

Ilex verticillata (common winterberry) - deciduous, 3 to 10 ft. tall, blooms white, yellow,  green, brown April to July, high water use, sun, part shade or shade

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) -  evergreen, 30 to 40 ft. tall, blooms green, purple, brown March to May, low water use, sun, part shade or shade


Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cornus sericea

Hypericum prolificum

Rhus typhina

Ilex verticillata

Juniperus virginiana

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Identification of tree or shrub in Massachusetts
May 16, 2013 - Good morning, We are in Zone 5 and have a tree/shrub I cannot identify in the backyard of our new home. Tall (6')and growing, green stems,and when the stems are broken the branches smell of lemon o...
view the full question and answer

Identification of wild shrub in Michigan
October 22, 2008 - I have what appears to be a wild shrub that I want to identify. It has green foliage and is bush-like. It is about 10' tall. This fall I noticed light red berries and thorns..after cutting it down...
view the full question and answer

Planting Texas Mountain Laurel seeds in Horse Shoe Bay,TX
July 09, 2012 - I have harvested Texas Mountain Laurel pods and extracted the seeds from the pods. The seeds are characteristic red/orange/maroon. When is the best time and best method to introduce seeds into pots? ...
view the full question and answer

Exotic plant/shrubs for Marietta, GA.
April 01, 2010 - Hi. I live in Marietta GA. and i am looking to add some curb appeal to my front lawn (around the border of the house). I would like evergreen plants and shrubs. I love the tropical/exotic look. do you...
view the full question and answer

Care for California lilacs from Portland OR
January 16, 2014 - Hi There, We live in the Portland Oregon area, so temps are moderate and winters are wet. We have several California Lilacs that are about 7ft in height and have created the perfect screen. Love th...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center