En EspaÑol

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: Fairfax, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small evergreen shrubs for Fairfax VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 2' wide 6' long strip between a brick wall and the front walk leading up to the entry way. Lavender has been a pain and I would like to replace it with an attractive evergreen alternate. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

"Evergreen" is often the monkey wrench our correspondents throw into their plant recommendation questions. In Fairfax County VA, at the northeastern tip of the state and in USDA Hardiness Zones 6b to 7a, we can surely find some shrubs native to your area that fill the bill, but the choice will probably not be large. You didn't mention how much sun this strip would have, so we could not enter that into our search specifications. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun daily, "part shade" two to six hours of sun, and "shade" less than 2 hours. You will need to follow each plant link to the page on that particular plant in our Native Plant Database to find out what sun exposure is required, and what the benefits, propagation and growing conditions are.

In addition, if your space is only 2' wide, you don't want anything that grows too big, as you would have to constantly prune to keep the plant within bounds. We know of only one evergreen shrub native to your area that has a number of 'dwarf' versions that have been developed. Our Native Plant Database only includes plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown, but as the 'dwarf' is usually a selection of a shorter version of the plant, we will include links to some of those plants that have been developed into smaller versions. 

Small Evergreen Shrubs for Fairfax VA:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - links to information on 'dwarf' versions

     'Nana'

     'Stokes Dwarf'

     'Bordeaux'

     'Schilling's Dwarf'

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Gaultheria procumbens

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Pride of Barbados seed for Ft. Worth TX
February 07, 2013 - When can you plant the Pride of Barbados plant seeds and how to go about it in Fort Worth Texas?
view the full question and answer

Why did the blossoms on my mountain laurels dry up before they flowered?
March 15, 2015 - Why did the blossoms on my mountain laurels dry up before they flowered?
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

Short, Natural Evergreen Shrubs for Texas
March 12, 2015 - I am looking for small/dwarf evergreen shrubs that, when mature, will be no larger than three feet tall. If possible I would like shrubs that are graceful and more natural looking rather than “regimen...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center