En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Evergreen shrub for pot in Manhattan

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

Tuesday - June 23, 2009

From: Manhattan, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrub for pot in Manhattan
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the best evergreen shrub or waxy leaved woody evergeen plant to use in a large concrete container in front of a doorman building in manhattan. Our building faces west and is directly on Riverside Drive. It gets very, very, windy and lots of sun. Would it help to line the INSIDE sides of the container (not the bottom or top) with some sort of plastic to help retain moisture on windy days?

ANSWER:

First, we need to tell you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center deals only with plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. One of the reasons for this is because non-natives can become invasive and take over native habitats, damaging the ecology and possibly removing food and shelter sources for valuable wildlife. We're not sure this is necessary for a plant in a pot in Manhattan. However, we will take a stab at it, and would like for you to start by reading our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants, which should answer some of your questions. Do not, repeat, DO NOT, line the pot with plastic. Regardless of wind, every plant needs good drainage for its roots. You will lose the plant far more quickly to root rot and drowned roots than you will to wind. If your building has a doorman, buy him a watering can and make sure he knows to water that plant when the soil is drying, and that it is draining freely. Another problem you will need to deal with is the cold. Roots in a pot are much more likely to freeze than roots in the ground. Roots in the ground have the whole world insulating them. Roots in a pot have a few inches of soil and a clay or plastic pot between them and freezing temperatures. It's possible you will want to move the plant inside in the coldest part of the winter.

We are going to recommend our favorite shrub for cold northern climes, which is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick). Partly we like it because of its common name. Follow the plant link to the page on that individual plant to learn its care, propagation, size, etc. It is evergreen, trailing (which would look great in a big pot), growing 1 to 3 ft. in height. The kinnikinnick has red berries, and blooms white or pink March to June. It gets along fine in sun, part shade or shade, so should adapt well to your specifications. 


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Needs Help with Peonies
January 14, 2011 - With the clay soil in North Texas (Frisco) which variety of peony would thrive and become a reliable bloomer? I do work on amending the soil with expanded shell and compost, but ultimately, we still h...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in California
November 13, 2010 - Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that y...
view the full question and answer

What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
August 09, 2011 - Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen fast-growing native shrubs for privacy shield in Baytown, TX
March 07, 2006 - A gas well is going in across the road. We need a fast growing native tall shrub to line our property next to the road. It needs to maintain its leaves in the winter also. We hope to cut down on th...
view the full question and answer

Need an evergreen shrub to hide a concrete wall and not attract bees in Cedar Park, TX
February 07, 2011 - I am looking for an evergreen shrub that I can plant in our yard to hide a 3' concrete wall. The area receives full sun during the day, and we would like something that is drought resistant. We also ...
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