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

Friday - December 24, 2010

From: Porter, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrub for hedge in Porter, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We are trying to decide on what would be good privacy hedges (at least 6 ft. tall) to run down our long backyard chainlink fences. I'm allergic to Ligustrums and we have 2 dogs and a cat which I heard that oleanders are toxic, too, so if they are toxic to pets they aren't an option. I was thinking about red tipped fettinias, but someone said they are very prone to fungus diseases in our area (Porter). So with these things in mind what would you recommend?


First of all, we wouldn't recommend any of the hedge plants you list.  They are all non-natives and what we are all about here at the Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."  Moreover, all the Ligustrum species and two of the Photinias (I think that is what you mean by 'fettinias') are in the Texas Invasives database.  Besides being a non-native Nerium oleander (Oleander) is highly toxic.

The Native Plant Society of Texas Houston Chapter in its Information Pages has an excellent collection of resources and recommended lists of plants for the Houston area near you.  Here are several evergreen shrubs/small trees that would make a good screening hedge that appear on one or more of their lists:

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine that would grow very well on your chainlink fence and act as a screen.

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)

Instead of picking just one of the above, you might consider using a combination of two or more of the above plants to make a more interesting privacy screen.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

Prunus caroliniana

Lonicera sempervirens

Sabal minor

Sabal minor



More Shrubs Questions

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wet soils in North Carolina
October 03, 2009 - I'm looking for evergreen plants (shrubs or ground cover)that will tolerate wet conditions for the zone 8 area of North Carolina. The local garden centers here do not stock these types of plants, eve...
view the full question and answer

Need a drought resistant, maintenance free tree in Thomasville, GA.
April 20, 2012 - I have been through many tree forums and asked several nurseries about a good tree to plant but nobody has provided an adequate answer and I hope you can help. I live in SW Georgia (Zone 8) and need ...
view the full question and answer

Scarifying seeds of evergreen sumacs from Lockhart TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, We would like to grow our own evergreen sumacs. Consulting Nokes book, How to Grow Native Plants on page 310, it says to scarify fresh uncleaned seeds for 30-45 minutes. On page...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

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