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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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Saturday - June 09, 2012

From: The Hills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrub for northwest-facing wall
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you suggest a tall (8-10') evergreen shrub for a site against a northwest-facing wall which gets no sun in the winter but full sun in the summer? Texas sage got too leggy and viburnum will be too hot. I have a couple volunteer wax myrtles but prefer something denser if possible. Thanks.

ANSWER:

That is a difficult order with no sun in the winter and full sun in the summer, but here are some suggestions.  If you want something really dense, you could use Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar).  Although it can grow into a medium to tall tree, it can be pruned to remain a shrub.  There are varieties that are more shrub-like in size and shape.

Another possibility is Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel).  It will also provide beautiful purple blossoms in the spring.

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) is another good choice.  It is not quite as dense as Eastern red cedar or Texas mountain laurel, however.

Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel) can be a very thick shrub but will need to be pruned to keep it at the 8-10 foot height you want.  Here are more photos.

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel) is a fast-growing, dense evergreen.  Here is more information.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen but with the denseness of evergreen sumac or wax myrtle.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

Lindheimer's silktassel
Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

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