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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 - April 07, 2010

From: Holly Ridge , NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shrub for part shade for hedge in Holly Ridge NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in Coastal NC. We would like a type of shrub for the front of our home which is partial shade, similar style to a boxwood or trainable hedge. What NC native would compare?

ANSWER:

There will surely be some native shrubs for North Carolina that will serve the function you describe, but they won't "compare" with boxwood. One of the reasons so many plants non-native to North America are on the market is because publications and retailers convince the gardening public that they must have a certain appearance or shape or bloom in their gardens. When we looked at the shrubs native to North Carolina in our Native Plant Database, we discovered that many do not grow natively on the North Carolina coastline, but more of them seem to be native to the north and east in your state. The ones we did find are more open and loose-growing and would be difficult to prune into a shape. We personally prefer that sort of thing in native plants, but it is not like boxwood.  We searched in our Native Plant Database for shrubs that were low-growing, and found 6 that both liked your area of Onslow County and did not get over about 3 feet. One other, Morella cerifera (wax myrtle), is known to have dwarf cultivars that would keep it in the same height range.  These were chosen in the database under COMBINATION SEARCH by selecting North Carolina, then "shrub" under General Appearance and "part shade" under Light Requirements. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that particular plant to learn more about it.

Shrubs for Holly Ridge NC:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Erythrina herbacea (redcardinal)

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf witchalder)

Ilex myrtifolia (myrtle dahoon) - more information and pictures

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Morella cerifera

Callicarpa americana

Erythrina herbacea

Morella cerifera

Ceanothus americanus

Fothergilla gardenii

Ilex myrtifolia
 
 

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