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?


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

Tuesday - November 02, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Year-round privacy screen of evergreen plants.
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We need a year-round privacy screen of evergreen plants.


It's understandable to want evergreen plants for this purpose, so you can enjoy your privacy year-round. A plant native to your area is conditioned by millennia of experience to deal with the climate of the area, resist disease and get by on the rain and soil that is available. The farther north you live, the fewer evergreens are going to be available, but there are some that are very hardy. Most of the members of the genus Ilex, holly, have species that stay green with glossy leaves and red berries (on the female trees). One example is Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) which is evergreen, 12 to 25 ft., high, low water use, and can grow in sun, part shade or shade. Another holly, Ilex opaca (American holly) grows as far north as New York, and makes an excellent outdoor Christmas decoration. If you live in Texas, you might enjoy a shrub that is more ever-blue than evergreen, the Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) It has blue-green, furry leaves, is  2 to 8 ft. tall, blooms white, pink, and purple year-round, depending on rain, and grows in sun or  part shade. A good one for the Southwest is Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry), 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms yellow February to April, needs sun.


From the Image Gallery

Ilex vomitoria

American holly
Ilex opaca

Leucophyllum frutescens

Texas barberry
Mahonia swaseyi

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy Screen for Reading MA
June 27, 2012 - Best tree to grow for a privacy screen - Hello, we recently moved into a new house in Reading and have an open area on the side of our house where we can make a privacy screen from our neighbors. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
May 01, 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs with fragrant flowers for screening in NY
October 27, 2010 - I'm trying to find a bush or shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the fence that would get between 6 and 8 ft tall. Something neat, and if possible with fra...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for a windbreak
June 13, 2008 - Our church has need to plant a windbreak. We would like fast growing native plants, preferably evergreen or really early 'leafers' to protect us from our windy season beginning in mid/late February....
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Granbury, TX.
April 14, 2011 - We live on a rocky hill in Hood County, Tx. and need suggestions for evergreen anything that will provide privacy. Red Cedars were added in October 2010 and it looks as if half of those are dying. He...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center