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
3 ratings

Wednesday - June 17, 2009

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Hedge in central Texas
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

Help, my oleanders are dying. I am in need of hedge suggestions- ideal would be quick growing, maybe 8-12 feet at their tallest. I live in Central Texas.

ANSWER:

While we are sorry for the loss of the oleanders, beautiful as they can be, you may be better off with native Texas shrubs even if you must wait for them to grow. Oleanders are native to the Middle East and Asia and moderately toxic to humans and animals. Plants that are exotic to our region tend to not be as hardy as natives. Check out information on why native plants are preferred on our website.

At the same site, different location, you may read detailed descriptions of the shrubs we suggest. Click on Explore Plants, then Native Plant Database. Then click on Combination Search. Select your location, General Appearance (type of plant desired), and Life Span. Check the requirements of your site: light and soil moisture. Use the same database to find Suppliers for your choice.

Though you did not mention the specifics of your site, we tend to think of central Texas as fairly hot, sunny and dry. All of the shrubs suggested are native and may attract birds and butterflies.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is one of the faster growing shrubs. The height starts at 6 feet and could go to 20 feet, but dwarf varieties are available. It likes sandy, moist soil, but will tolerate drought once established.

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) is a slower growing evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. It ranges between 6-12 feet in height.

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) is about the same height as the previous sumac but faster growing. It tends to form a thicket.

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac) is another fast growing sumac, 6-12 feet in height, and looks best in natural settings.

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is a slow grower that may be worth waiting for. It produces showy fragrant lavendar blossoms in the spring yielding a toxic red berry. Listed at 10-20 feet, it ends up  comparable in height to the oleander.

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye) is another showy bloomer. While it can reach 30 feet, it generally hovers between 8-12 feet tall. The seeds are mildly toxic.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) is a picturesque, holly-like shrub that may be trimmed into a lovely hedge. Dwarf varieties may be available. The female plant produces bright red berries.

 


Morella cerifera

Rhus virens

Rhus aromatica

Rhus glabra

Sophora secundiflora

Ungnadia speciosa

Ilex vomitoria
 

More Trees Questions

Evergreen plant to grow to 6 feet tall with flowers and non-toxic
November 04, 2013 - I live in South Texas, and in town. I am looking for plant that grows taller than 6 feet and is non toxic to people and pets. Would also like for it to be pest and disease free or minimal. Need it ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy and filtering dust in NY
March 23, 2011 - I live on a very busy, DUSTY, dirt road in Putnam County NY. (zip code 10524) What is the best, fast growing evergreen that I can use for dust control and privacy? I would prefer something that requi...
view the full question and answer

January good time to plant live oak in January from Manor TX
January 19, 2014 - I want to plant a Live Oak in January. Is this a good time to plant it?
view the full question and answer

Texas Pistachio trees dropping leaves in Austin
June 09, 2010 - I have several Texas Pistachio that are about 13 years old. Despite good rainfall in Travis county this year, they seem to be losing most of their new leaf growth now in early June. Leaves are simpl...
view the full question and answer

When and how to transplant a Texas persimmon
January 02, 2009 - When and how should I transplant a 12' Texas persimmon? How much root ball do I need to get?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center