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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - July 29, 2009

From: Easton, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Flowering small native plants for Easton PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please name small flowering evergreen plants native to Easton, PA. These need to be wind tolerant and must be taller than 1 foot tall, no more than 4 feet tall.

ANSWER:

This is what we call a "designer plant." You look at your site, the architecture of your garden, the colors you like, and you picture in your mind the perfect plant, only you don't know the name of it. You could do the same thing with a metal sculpture, take your idea to a metalworking shop, and they would probably turn out the exact plant you wanted, in stainless steel. Unfortunately, we haven't yet located the hotline to Nature's workshop, and we have to work with what is available. While there are herbaceous blooming plants that would fit your other specifications, by definition "herbaceous" is not going to be evergreen. So, we will take a look at shrubs native to the area of Northampton County in the central portion of far eastern Pennsylvania. According to the USDA Hardiness Zone Maps, this is located approximately in Zones 6a to 6b, which means an evergreen plant would have to be hardy to average annual minimum temperatures of -10 to 0 deg. F. Follow the links to the webpage on each individual plant and learn the expected growth rate, light and moisture requirements and so forth.

 

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) - 1 to 3 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, pink March to June, part shade or shade

Chamaedaphne calyculata (leatherleaf) - 1 to 3 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white April and May, sun

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) - 1 to 3 ft., evergreen, blooms white, pink, June to August, part shade or shade

Ledum groenlandicum (bog Labrador tea) - 1 to 3 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white May to August, sun, part shade or shade. CAUTION: All parts of this plant are toxic.

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry) - 1 to 3 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms yellow April to July, part shade

Morella pensylvanica (northern bayberry) - 3 to 12 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms yellow July to October, part shade. Dwarf cultivars or selections may be available.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Leatherleaf
Chamaedaphne calyculata

Bog labrador tea
Ledum groenlandicum

Creeping barberry
Mahonia repens

Northern bayberry
Morella pensylvanica

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