En Español

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 - July 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Privacy Screening, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs, Vines
Title: A privacy hedge for a shady spot in Austin, TX
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

What is a good choice for a privacy hedge in west Austin in a predominantly shady area? I'd like it to be 8-12 feet, along the fence, so as to obstruct the view of the neighbor's yard.

ANSWER:

I can suggest several plant species suitable for your needs.  Unfortunately, most are relatively slow growing and expensive to purchase in larger sizes.  My picks would include:

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), a little faster growing than most, flowers not showy, fruit good for birds.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), gray green foliage, nice blooms if it gets enough sunlight.

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac), slower growing than above species.

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita), does not normally reach 8 feet in height.  Yellow flowers in February.

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), very slow growing until it reaches 3-4 feet in height.  Gorgeous flowers.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon), perhaps the slowest growing, but may be the best all-round hedge when mature.

Check out the properties of each of these species on our web site.  If you are patient or prosperous enough to purchase large starter shrubs you will be richly rewarded with any of them.  If you are the impatient type, consider using a vine such as Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine),  Your  neighbor may be agreeable to planting this by the fence.  It will give privacy sooner than starting with small shrubs.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

More Vines Questions

climbing vine for growth in sand
July 11, 2012 - I live in Grand Beach, MI. My house sits on a sand dune. I want to plant a flowering vine that will grow up a fence. The area has plenty of sand and I have a trickle watering system. Can you pleas...
view the full question and answer

Vine with 5 pointed deep lobed leaves and small white flowers
June 21, 2015 - I recently happened upon a very peculiar vine. It has 5 pointed very deep lobed leaves, that are semi hairy on both the top and bottom with small white flowers that emerge from the same part of the st...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in North Carolina
November 11, 2010 - How can I send a picture to you of a vine that I can't seem to identify?
view the full question and answer

Eliminating unwanted vine on arbor in San Francisco
November 20, 2012 - There is a vine growing on our arbor, it has sickle-shaped pods and is crushing the arbor, how do we get rid of it?
view the full question and answer

Plant to hang over and cover a wall
May 21, 2010 - HI! this is a stumper for me! I have a 6 foot wall bracing a hill on one side and a lawn on the other. It is currently cement and I would like to find something to cover it --evergreen would be the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center