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

Monday - February 28, 2011

From: Magnolia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Need a fast growing shrub to quickly create a 6' privacy screen in Magnolia, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Can you please recommend a fast-growing shrub to quickly create a 6' plus-tall privacy screen in an area with mottled shade along a north/south oriented wrought-iron fence? This is under a canopy of pine, gum, and other native, east Texas trees and in clay/gumbo soil. There are no man made structures blocking sunlight. We live between Magnolia and Conroe, Tx. Thank you!

ANSWER:

That depends on your definition of quickly. Generally, plants that are annuals grow more quickly than perrenials. Plants such as Sunflower Helianthus annuus (Common sunflower) and Corn Zea mays can reach heights of over six feet in just a few months, but these are probably not what you had in mind. One of the fastest growing perrenials is said to be Bamboo whose optimal shoot growth can be 39" per day. Growing bamboo can be problematic, so you might want to consider something that grows more slowly.

An evergreen shrub that the "Green Gurus" frequently recommend is Wax Myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle). It is a 6-12 ft. shrub that can reach up to 20 ft., and is described by Floridata as being a fast grower. It can grow in full sun to partial shade, likes slightly acidic, moist, deep sands, loams, clay and is found all over east Texas.

To look for other possibilities, lets go to our Native Plant Database. After clicking on the link, scroll down to the Combination Search Box, and make the following selections: choose Texas under State, Shrub under Habit, and Perrenial under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement ,and Moist under Soil moisture. Click the "Submit combination Search" button and you will get a list of 48 native species occurring in Texas that meet these parameters. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN database page that describes the plant's characteristics, its growth requirements as well as pictures.

Another option that would be faster growing would be an evergreen vine on a trellis, or on the fence if it is tall enough. Go back to the Native Plant Database, and proceed as before except choose Vine instead of Shrub under Habit. Click the "Submit combination Search" button and you will get a list of 24 vines from which to choose.

Three that might be possibilities:

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle)


Morella cerifera


Bignonia capreolata


Gelsemium sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy Screening Plant for New York Narrow Site
April 20, 2013 - I need privacy screening on the side of my house in Mount Kisco, New York located 40 miles north of New York City. The area gets plenty of sun but is somewhat narrow. What evergreen bushes or trees ...
view the full question and answer

Hedge of native Purple Sage in Austin
November 20, 2008 - Hi, I would like to plant a dense hedge of Purple Sage that will hopefully grow from 6-8 ' tall and about 4' wide. I purchased the Silverado Sage Leucophyllum frutescens 'Berstar Dwarf' variety....
view the full question and answer

Screening trees for PA
March 13, 2011 - We are looking to plant some privacy trees in back of our home. Since our neighbor is directly behind us but we don't want to plant something distasteful to our neighbor. Do you have a recommendation...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen vine for St. Paul MN
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a native vine that will stay green, or at least keep its leaves, throughout the winter. The vine will be grown on a trellis between our house and our neighbor's, and we want to keep...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

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