En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Evergreen drought-tolerant screening plant for shade

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

Thursday - May 13, 2010

From: Guerneville, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Evergreen drought-tolerant screening plant for shade
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am renting my place and looking for a screening, green all year, native plant or shrub. I plan to grow it in large planters along my street and to create privacy in my back yard. It has to be a non-allergy, fast growing, drought tolerant species! Shaded by 2 huge redwood trees 10 feet from either side, The space is 15 feet tall and 10 ft long, and 4 feet deep, nestled between overgrown shrubberies flanking the space. Its an old driveway entry which is grassed over and gated looks just like the fence. We want to be able to move the plant if we ever have to open the gate again, but at the moment we don't care to use it. We live in Sonoma County, CA in Guerneville, 10 minutes to the beach. At the top of the hill with brighter sun than most, I guess it's partial shade with dappled sunlight and full sun.

ANSWER:

That's a very big order—evergreen, drought- and shade-tolerant plant that is fast-growing and non-allergenic to be grown in large planters!  But, let's start by looking at our California-Northern Recommended plant list.  Here are a few possibilities that are native to Sonoma County:

Ceanothus velutinus (snowbrush ceanothus) grows 3 to 5 feet high in dry soils and has fast growth.  According to PollenLibrary.com this is mildly allergenic.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) grows 6-8 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide and drought tolerant, fast growth rate.  Here is more information.  This plant is on the San Diego Regional Asthma Coalition Allergy Plant and Tree List.

Polystichum munitum (western swordfern) grows 3-5 feet high and is drought tolerant.  Here is more information.  May be very mildly allergenic.

Rhamnus crocea (redberry buckthorn) grows 2-3 feet high and grows in dry soils, moderate growth rate.  Here is more information.  No information indicating that this plant causes allergies.

Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) 5 to 25 feet and grows in dry soils, but may require some moisture.   Here is more information.  According to PollenLibrary.com the pollen from this plant does not cause allergies.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Ceanothus velutinus

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Polystichum munitum

Rhamnus crocea

Rhododendron macrophyllum

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Low-growing plants for a slope in the shade
July 08, 2013 - Hello, I'm looking for native plants to put in the shade (within the drip-line) of a well-established American Holly. The area gets deep shade; it is also on a very gentle north-exposure slope. We ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant privacy fence for shade in Hill Country
April 28, 2009 - I am looking for a shrub to plant along a privacy fence that gets 8+ feet tall, fast growing, preferably native, deer resistant, and can tolerate mostly shade. I reside in the Hill Country area. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Trees for shade in Austin
May 20, 2012 - I live in Austin and I am looking for a good tree to plant under a large live oak I have in my backyard. Something slow-growing of course and, the garden only gets late day sun for about an hour. Filt...
view the full question and answer

Leaves turning brown on geum in Mountlake Terrace WA
July 12, 2010 - Assuming a geum is North American . . . mine are turning brown unlike any time before. They get watered occasionally and then dry out. Is there something special I should be doing for geums? They get ...
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