Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Problem with magnolias and yaupon in Prosper TX
May 13, 2012 - Problem with Little Gem magnolia - 3 little gems planted next to a fence, in Prosper, TX. Planted 3 years ago, 2009, one of the trees is now withering. The other 2 are doing fine, the one has leaves...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant low shrub for Houston
September 28, 2013 - Please suggest a shade loving shrub that doesn't get more than 3' tall for a foundation planting along a front porch in Houston, TX. I prefer native, drought resistant if possible. No nursery person...
view the full question and answer

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs for wildlife santuary in Georgia
March 27, 2009 - We live south of Atlanta, GA and are trying to have our backyard certified as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Can you suggest native shrubs that thrive in partial sun, are habitats for bird and are deer resist...
view the full question and answer

Spacing for Dogwoods and Cotoneasters
February 21, 2016 - How close should Dogwoods and Cotoneasters be to bricks?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.