En EspaŅol

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

Monday - May 20, 2013

From: Paso Robles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Replacement for running bamboo in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We currently have running bamboo planted next to the side our house facing West, which has provided wonderful shade in front of two large windows. However, because it is running bamboo we are afraid it may damage the foundation or pool and want to remove it. I'd like to replace it with something else - could be potted - that will grow quickly and stand up to the extreme afternoon sun and offer the same type of shade as bamboo. We live in zip code 93446, with cold winters and very hot summers.

ANSWER:

It is a good thing you are doing removing the running bamboo.  For one thing, bamboos are not native to North America and what we are all about here at the Wildflower Center are native North American plants.  The running bamboos also tend to invade and take over and are difficult to control.

As a replacement, I am assuming that you want something evergreen.  All of the plants listed below are native to your area and are evergreen.  I've listed several sites for information on each plant so that you can make your own decision about which one to use.

Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf cherry)  Theodore Payne Organization says that it is slow to establish, but then fast to grow.  California Flora Nursery says that it is tolerant of heat, drought, wind and oak root fungus.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) is evergreen with showy red berries.  According to bewaterwise.com it tolerates "full sun or partial shade, heat, smog, wind and heavy or light soils."  Theodore Payne Organization says that it is fast-growing.  See more information and photos from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Ceanothus cuneatus (Buckbrush) is evergreen with showy blossoms, but attractive foliage without blooms.   Theodore Payne Organization reports that it has moderate growth and it dense.  Here is information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Juniperus californica (California juniper) is evergreen and withstands heat and drought.  Theodore Payne Organization says that its growth rate is slow.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Quercus durata (Leather oak) grows 3 to 10 feet and forms dense thickets.   It is, however, slow-growing.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and photos from CalPhotos, University of California-Berkeley.

Frangula californica [synonym=Rhamnus californica] (California buckthorn of Coffeeberry)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and more information from Theodore Payne Organization.  Note that there are several varieties listed for sale. Here are photos from CalPhotos.

Las Pilitas Nursery, located in Escondido and Santa Margarita, has a list, Plants for Central Oak Woodland, with plants native to your area that you can check for other choices.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Small shrub for Point Richmond CA
August 19, 2013 - I'm looking for a plant that grows 4-6 feet tall, but not too wide (more than 2-3 feet). I'd like it to be flowering (any color but white and preferably not red). It will be located between a salvi...
view the full question and answer

Replacement of non-native red tip photinias in Midlothian VA
April 30, 2012 - I need to replace our long lived red tips. They are now diseased. I would like a fast growing bush that I can trim and make a hedge with. Any suggestions
view the full question and answer

Can lantana be grown in British Columbia from Vernon BC
October 20, 2012 - Can I grow lantana in Vernon B.C. Canada?
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Tecoma stans in Fredericksburg, TX
June 30, 2008 - We have an esperanza plant purchased last year from Walmart and planted outside before winter. It flowered excellently last year. Just before winter we cut it back to about a foot. So far this summer ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Ilex x attenuata (Savannah holly)
July 31, 2014 - Is it hard to take a savannah holly out of my front yard? Do the roots grow down deep or are they more shallow? I can only take a 36-40 rootball circumference because of surrounding established shru...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center