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

Shape of common ninebark in Canton MI
April 24, 2010 - I have planted one center glow ninebark in a triangular area in between my front walk and driveway. It looks a little odd just having one plant, but I originally did this b/c of the mature plant heig...
view the full question and answer

Disappointing Fall color from sumac in Dodge City, KS
May 07, 2013 - We have had a fragrant sumac bush growing in our front yard (faces south) for several years. While it is healthy and growing well, we are always disappointed in its lack of bright fall foliage. It d...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting native flame leaf sumac in Eden, TX
October 26, 2008 - We have tried without success to transplant a flame leaf sumac from the ranch to the house. What are we doing wrong?
view the full question and answer

Plants for near a salt water swimming pool
April 01, 2009 - I need some suggestions of plants that will grow next to a public salt water swimming pool, located in Bossier City, Louisiana
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
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