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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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Tuesday - April 02, 2013

From: Salem, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Flowering evergreen plant for ceramic pot
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a deep ceramic pot that I would like to put in a flowering evergreen plant or bush. It is on the deck facing west but with north and south exposure and afternoon sun.

ANSWER:

First, let me recommend our How to Article, Container Gardening with Native Plants.

Next, I suggest that you visit our Oregon Recommended page (as I did) to search for a plant for your ceramic pot.  Your description of the place you want it to grow it sounds as if you have part shade there (2 to 6 hours of sunight per day).  I am assuming the pot is large enough to hold a small shrub so I used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and chose "Shrub" from the General Appearance slot.  This resulted in 48 species from this list of commercially available native plants suitable for landscaping in Oregon.  I used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option again to choose "Part Shade" from Light Requirement and "Evergreen" from Leaf Retention.  The first six suggestions were selected from the search on the Oregon Recommended list.  You might try the same search to look at the other possibilities on the list.  A few of the choices below may be taller than you want, but you can use some judicious pruning to keep the shrub size you want.

The Oregon Recommended page is a subset of our Native Plant Database so I also did a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database, choosing "Oregon", "Shrub", "Part Shade" and "Evergreen" from the appropriate slots to find the Blue Blossom Ceanothus.  There are more choices using those criteria that I used.  (You can also choose other criteria.)

Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush) grows in sun, part shade and shade 3 to 5 feet high.

Gaultheria shallon (Salal) grows in sun, part shade and shade 1 to 4 feet high.

Mahonia aquifolium (Hollyleaved barberry) grows in shade and part shade 1 to 3 feet high.

Mahonia repens (Creeping barberry) grows in part shade 1 to 3 feet.

 Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) grows 5 to 25 feet high in part shade and shade.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) grows 10 to 25 feet high in sun and part shade.  Here are photos and more information from Great Plant Picks.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) grows 3 to 18 feet high in part shade.

I tried a similar search in both the Oregon Recommended page and using the COMBINATION SEARCH in the Native Plant Database and substituting "Herb" for "Shrub" and the result was mostly ferns, not flowering plants, or very small herbs.   You should try that search for yourself, too.

 

From the Image Gallery


Snowbrush
Ceanothus velutinus

Salal
Gaultheria shallon

Holly-leaved barberry
Mahonia aquifolium

Creeping barberry
Mahonia repens

Pacific rhododendron
Rhododendron macrophyllum

Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

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