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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 30, 2013

From: Fairfield, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go… Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if that is what it takes?

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Connecticut, Habit – shrub, Duration – perennial, Light requirement – shade, Leaf Retention – evergreen and Size – 3-6 ft.

Once a preliminary list is compiled, the plants have to be assessed for their deer-resistance. Look at the list of deer resistant species that is on our website.

Unfortunately no native plants for your area fit the criteria of being evergreen, deer resistant, shade tolerant, and 5 feet tall.When the search was broadened to include taller plants (without consideration for deer resistance) many Juniperus (junipers), Pinus (pines), Tsuga (hemlock), Thuja (arborvitae), Picea (spruce) and even a holly (Ilex opaca) appeared but they are much taller than your five foot tall hedge requirement.

Also there are several native vines that would cover a fence nicely but none that are evergreen in your region.

So, the shade tolerant, deer resistant, deciduous vine possibilities that could be used as a screen with a solid fence (for year round impact) include:

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) woody vine to 30 ft. In the fall showy orange capsules split to reveal crimson arils. Deciduous. Deer resistant.

Clematis virginiana (Devil’s darning needles) fine-textured vine to 15 ft. A profusion of small white flowers in summer followed by a plume-like feathery achene.Deciduous. May be browsed occasionally by deer.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) deciduous vine to 40 ft. Brilliant mauve, red and purple fall color. Moderately deer resistant.

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) deciduous vine to 25 ft. Large drooping clusters of lilac flowers after the plant is in leaf and on new wood. Deer resistant.

 

From the Image Gallery


American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

More Shrubs Questions

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
February 06, 2013 - To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?
view the full question and answer

Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
July 30, 2007 - I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? I...
view the full question and answer

Making cuttings from purple sage in Austin, TX.
May 15, 2012 - I would like to plant additional purple sage for landscaping. May I do this with cuttings from an existing adult plant? If so, how and when would be the best method? I live in Lago Vista, TX
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
September 04, 2014 - I've had a Texas mountain laurel for 4 years that's being trained into a tree. I think it was a 3-year old tree when I purchased it. Unfortunately, it has suffered from overwatering, and the two mai...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center