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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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Tuesday - June 28, 2011

From: Jonathan, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Need suggestions for cold resistant, hardy hedge plant in Jonathan, NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I'm looking for a Full sun, cold resistant, hardy, non-invasive plant to be used for a property line hedge for North Carolina. Preferably NOT slow growing. What can you suggest?


I’m not sure we can meet all of those criteria, but let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database that can help with finding plants for particular situations. This Database  contains 7,161 plants that are searchable by scientific name or common name.

One way of using the Database is to go to the Recommended Species Lists. Click on View Recommended Species Page, and then click on North Carolina on the map. This will bring up 135 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration. Check Sun under Light Requirement and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to seven. 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.

Growth rate is sort of a relative thing. Annuals tend to grow faster than perennials since they need to grow,  flower,  and produce seed in a single growing season. Think of sun flowers Helianthus annuus (Common sunflower) as an example. The four plants below, which may be possibilities, are generally considered to have a moderate growth rate. A fast growth rate for perennials is one to two feet per year.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)
Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)
Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac)
Condalia hookeri (Bluewood condalia)

The  Asheville Chapter of the Native Plant Society of North Carolina can also provide help with your project.


From the Image Gallery

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Bluewood condalia
Condalia hookeri

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

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