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
1 rating

Monday - May 03, 2010

From: St. Augustine, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Dwarf foundation plants for St. Augustine FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Need to put in fast, low growing (3' max) foundation plants that would be frost hardy and work well in the St. Augustine area of Northeast Florida.

ANSWER:

With very few exceptions, there are no shrubs that will grow in Florida that will not get taller than 3 ft. very quickly. Your sub-tropical climate and normally frequent rains are an inspiration to most shrubs to head for 6 to 8 feet. So, you may find dwarf varieties of some plants native to your area. These cultivars (cultivated variety) or selections are being developed by growers all the time. Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, we will first look in our Recommended Species List, selecting Florida on the map and then "shrub" for General Appearance. Since you did not say if you needed plants that tolerate shade or full sun, we will have to leave that specification off. One excellent foundation plant is Ilex vomitoria (yaupon); you will definitely need a dwarf version of that. Follow the plant links to each page on that plant to find out its normal size, whether or not it is evergreen, and what moisture and sunlight requirements it has. 

Short Shrubs  for St. Augustine, FL:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - you will definitely need a dwarf of this. Here is a list of references.:

     'Schilling's Dwarf'

     'Nana'

     'Stokes Dwarf'

     'Micron'

Malvaviscus arboreus (wax mallow)

Vaccinium myrsinites (shiny blueberry) - more information from Floridata

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - This is actually a grass, 2-4 ft. tall, with graceful seed heads that bend over. It makes a nice short hedge and is a shade plant.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Gaylussacia dumosa

Ilex vomitoria

Malvaviscus arboreus

Vaccinium myrsinites

Chasmanthium latifolium

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Shallow topsoil on rocky substrate in SW Oregon
April 28, 2009 - I want to plants some shrubs and trees. Trouble is I can't plant very deep. I have mostly rock within 5 inches. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Is Ilex glabra a Good Substitute Hedge for Boxwood?
November 08, 2013 - I am planning a new garden in my yard (Mercer County, NJ). My site is south-facing, average water and average soil. The aesthetic look that I want is formal; a tightly sheared hedge of small leaves ab...
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
view the full question and answer

Opinion of 5 best native garden plants in Oklahoma from Burneyville OK
September 07, 2013 - What would you say are the 3 to 5 BEST native garden plants for south central Oklahoma?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center