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

Windbreaks for Monterey County, CA
May 31, 2013 - I am trying to find good wind breakers for Monterey County area, very windy in the valley.
view the full question and answer

Shrub or tree for large pot in Austin
May 18, 2010 - I have a front-door entryway that faces east, what 3-4 foot shrub/tree would best survive in a large pot? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Desert or littleleaf sumac (Rhus microphylla) on Texas State Capitol grounds
May 07, 2007 - I am trying to find out what kinds of plants are planted on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. There is a bush that grows around the Capitol Extension windows area and I don't know what they are. The...
view the full question and answer

Sumac Leaves Turning Red
November 22, 2013 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently planted a flowering sumac bush. Is it normal for that plant to get fall leaf-color? About a week after planting it, the temp reached the mid-30s, and after that, I ...
view the full question and answer

Native trees or shrubs for containers on roof in Wisconsin
March 17, 2010 - Looking for native trees/shrubs to be planted in containers on a flat roof w/south-southeast exposure. Gets pretty warm in the summer and pretty cold in the winter. How big would the container have to...
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