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

Wednesday - June 02, 2010

From: Wharton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrubs for foundation plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you recommend any evergreen shrubs that would work as foundation plants in front of windows, so preferably below 4' tall? I would love a native plant, and of course anything for the birds and bees is given preference. Morning and noon sun, afternoon shade, deep soil, moderate alkalinity. THANKS!

ANSWER:

South Texas doesn't have a large number of evergreen shrubs and certainly fewer of them that are less than 4 feet tall.  Your best bet for an evergreen shrub less than four feet tall is Morella cerifera (wax myrtle).  There are dwarf varieties that have a maximum height of 4 to 5 feet.  They will grow in sun, part shade or shade and in a variety of soils. Birds love the berries that grow on the female plants. 

Here are three more possibilities:

Leucophyllum frutescens (cenizo) can be gently pruned to stay below 4 feet.

Malpighia glabra (wild crapemyrtle)  The winters in Wharton may be mild enough for this plant to retain its leaves through the season. It grows 3 to 6 feet high and its fruits are attractive to birds.

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) grows to 5 feet and has berries that are attractive to birds.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Morella cerifera

Leucophyllum frutescens

Malpighia glabra

Sabal minor

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Native flower bed with part sun
December 05, 2008 - I have recently put in three small flower beds and replaced the hard clay with decent dirt. The site is shaded in the AM but mostly sun in the PM. I would like to plant natives - what can you recommen...
view the full question and answer

Problems with yellow lantana in Smoaks SC
June 05, 2010 - My yellow lantanas are about five years old - big and beautiful, but beginning last year, the blooms are small and part of the tiny petals are brown or black. Can you tell me what I can do about this ...
view the full question and answer

What about the brown dots on my Silver sage?
June 27, 2008 - During the past year, the leaves on my silver sage bushes around the perimeter of the front of my house have turned yellow in places and there are tiny brown dots on virtually all of the leaves. If I ...
view the full question and answer

Stress in potted Tif blueberry plants
August 15, 2008 - Recently purchased Tif Blue Blueberry plants (about 3 ft tall)are showing signs of stress. They are in 10 gallon pots. Should they be transplanted? Medium? Fertilizer? Location? Trimming?
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
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