Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

More Shrubs Questions

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Forestiera pubescens blooming in July
August 07, 2012 - I have a lot of what appears to be Forestiera pubescens. They are covered with the dark blue/black berries and flowers. Apparently they are blooming again in the middle of July. I live about 35 mile...
view the full question and answer

Sap drips from Sophora secundiflora
May 30, 2008 - We have an old Mountain Laurel (sophora secundiflora) about 20 ft tall. It blooms pretty well and seems healthy. We are wondering why it drizzles a non-sticky sap in tiny drops. Hold out your hand and...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub looking like honeysuckle in Odessa TX
October 02, 2011 - Bought a shrub in Pecos, TX yesterday. It looks like honeysuckle but the brightest flat orange I have ever seen. Flower and greenery looked like honeysuckle but when I looked on the Internet under or...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shelter for butterflies
July 04, 2010 - I understand that butterflies need certain plants for food, but are there specific plants that butterflies prefer to use as shelter in central Texas?
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.