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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.

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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.

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Sunday - June 28, 2009

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen in front of cinderblock wall in Los Angeles
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a privacy hedge to plant along my backyard's cinderblock wall in Los Angeles, CA. I need it to grow 10 - 15 feet and it can't be toxic to dogs. Any advice would be great!

ANSWER:

Since we are usually asked for evergreen shrubs for privacy screens, that is what we chose, which is a whole lot easier to find in Southern California than in Maine. We went to our Recommended Species section, clicked on Southern California on the map, and then did Narrow Your Search by searching on shrubs in the drop-down menu, and clicking on Narrow Your Search. You can repeat this search with other criteria, such as amount of sun, etc. None of these plants appeared on the following poisonous plants lists:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Toxic Plants of Texas 

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

ASPCA Toxic and Non-toxic Plant List - Dogs

You can follow each plant link to the page on the individual plant and find out projected size and width, what kind of soil it likes, and how much sun it requires. 

Shrubs for Southern California

Ceanothus impressus (Santa Barbara ceanothus) - 6 to 8 ft. tall, blooms blue March and April, part shade

Ceanothus leucodermis (chaparral whitethorn) - 4 to 8 ft. tall, blooms white, blue April to June, sun

Comarostaphylis diversifolia (summer holly) - slow-growing to 20 ft, blooms white May and June, part shade

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush) - 6 to 12 ft., blooms ywllow June to September,  low water use, part shade

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) - 10 to 25 ft., blooms white, yellow April to July, medium water use, sun or part shade - pictures


Ceanothus impressus

Ceanothus leucodermis

Comarostaphylis diversifolia

Fremontodendron californicum

 

 

 

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