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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.

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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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Friday - May 27, 2011

From: cadiz, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs to grow in a narrow area no taller than 3 ft. in Cadiz, KY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I need to plant shrubs in a narrow area between my house and sidewalk. I have a low porch so I want the shrub to grow no taller than 3 ft. What do you recommend? It is in full sun.

ANSWER:

 

Well let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database that can help with finding plants for particular situations. One way of using the Database is to go to the Recommended Species Lists. Click on View Recommended Species Page, and then click on Kentucky on the map. This will bring up 122 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Kentucky. This is more information than you need, so go to the Narrow Your Search box to the right of the window and make the following selections: select Kentucky under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration. Check Sun under Light Requirement, Moist under Soil Moisture, and 3-6 under Height. Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to six. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has plant characteristics, growth requirements and photos. These can help you select plants suitable for your location.

Another approach is to use the Combination Search Box on the Database page. It works similarly, so make the same selections as before and click on the Submit Combination Search button. In this case, the results are close to the same.

Here are a few possibilities that I gleaned from such a search:

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)   (dwarf varieties)

Photinia pyrifolia (Red chokeberry)

Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry)     (dwarf varieties)    

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)

Now these shrubs, or any other that you select, are not going to stop growing at three feet. The shape of the plant, height and width, will be influenced by careful and thoughtful pruning. This link to Purdue University will help you accomplish this.


Ilex vomitoria


Ilex vomitoria


Photinia pyrifolia


Vaccinium corymbosum


Symphoricarpos albus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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