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

Monday - August 31, 2009

From: Westminster, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub or small tree to hide walls in southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have multiple issues in our back yard in 92683, and will probably need an assortment of plants to accomplish it. In a nutshell, here are the basics we were hoping to fix: 1) Ugly 5 & 6 foot block walls need to be hidden, 2) Plants should grow above walls to provide additional privacy, 3) Small yard, so minimal girth on plants at least below 5', 4) Dog eats everything, so must be non-toxic, and preferably minimal debris, 5) Our soil is a bit silty and dries out fast, and last 6) easy maintenance. Hopefully you have some ideas we can try.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would like to refer you to the California-Southern Recommended list for commercially available native plants suitable for landscaping in southern California.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the list to 'Shrubs' or 'Trees' and make the choices yourself.  You can then check your choices against the list, Poisonous Plants Commonly Occurring in Southern California by Owen E. Dell, to be sure your plants are not toxic.  You can also check your choices against the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina and the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System databases. Here is also a list of Common Poisonous Plants for pets from the Humane Society of the United States.  

Here are a few plants chosen from the California-Southern Recommended list that are not toxic and meet your other criteria above.  There are many more to choose from.

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

One of the many Arctostaphylos species (manzanitas) native to southern California. 

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood)

Ceanothus impressus (Santa Barbara ceanothus)

Forestiera pubescens var. pubescens (stretchberry)

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush)

Prosopis velutina (velvet mesquite)


Amorpha fruticosa

Arctostaphylos pungens

Chilopsis linearis

Cornus nuttallii

Ceanothus impressus

Forestiera pubescens var. pubescens

Fremontodendron californicum

Prosopis velutina

 


 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants to cover 1000 square foot wall in Virginia
March 29, 2013 - In Norfolk, VA, I want to cover a large (1000 sq ft) cement wall with a variety of maintenance free plant life. Any recommendations?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub with flowers Alabama
May 21, 2008 - I am looking for an evergreen plant, shrub or the likeness that flowers in the spring that can handle hot afternoon sun in Southeast AL. Can you give me some suggestions, if there is such an animal.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Moisture as trigger for Cenizo bloom
July 17, 2006 - Does the cenizo bloom because it has had water on its leaves and stems?
view the full question and answer

Hedge of native Purple Sage in Austin
November 20, 2008 - Hi, I would like to plant a dense hedge of Purple Sage that will hopefully grow from 6-8 ' tall and about 4' wide. I purchased the Silverado Sage Leucophyllum frutescens 'Berstar Dwarf' variety....
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