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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

 

 

 

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