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

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

Native plants for part shade in North Carolina
February 07, 2009 - I'm thinking about planting a border in front of my house. It's on the north side, so it's fairly shady. One of the main problems with this is that I don't like many common shade plants, so it's ...
view the full question and answer

Annual flowers for rocky area near driveway in Pennsylvania
May 25, 2010 - What type(s) of annual flowers can I plant along a driveway in northeast PA? The soil is very rocky and the area is mostly shady receiving only morning and some late afternoon sun.
view the full question and answer

Year-round ground cover for sun/shade
April 24, 2011 - Looking for a native ground cover for shade and middle afternoon/evening sun. Would like it to cover all year. I planted aguga and it froze. I have two large beds (I used about 70 4in plants for ea...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade native to New York
June 13, 2006 - I am gradually trying to convert my garden to all natives. I am working in a shaded area under a maple tree. Are there any varieties of epimediums/barrenwort or hellebores that are native to the nor...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plant for Rodeo, California
November 02, 2008 - I live in Rodeo, California and I need to know what is a good green plant I can get to place in a shady area
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