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

Thursday - May 23, 2013

From: Stamford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub to hide gas line and water faucet from Stamford CT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small garden ( 8'x10') in front of my house in southwestern Connecticut which faces north. It gets very limited sun and the eave hangs over it. I am looking for a shrub to plant up against the house to hide the water spigot and gas line. Desired height of no more than 4 feet (I will keep it trimmed). Any suggestions -- other than boxwood, which I am very bored with -- ? Is mountain laurel able to be trimmed into a hedge? Thank you.

ANSWER:

First a word from our sponsors: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to areas in which they evolved; in your case, Fairfield County, CT. This will help to ensure that the plants you choose will be able to flourish in the climate, rainfall and soils they experience. So, Buxus sempervirens (boxwood), native to western Europe, Turkey, northwest Africa and southeast Asia would not be on our list anyway. As you can see if you follow this plant link Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel), while it is native to Connecticut, its normal growth pattern as a single-trunked plant to 20 ft. tall would not be suitable for trimming to a shrub.

Next, another small caution we would extend. Be sure that digging in the area you have designated, where there are probably both water and gas lines, will not cause any damage to those lines. Your local gas and water companies should be able to help you with that.

We will go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down the page to Combination Search, select on Connecticut for state, "shrub" for Habit and 3 ft. to 6 ft. for Height. There will probably be a limited amount of sun that close to your house. You will need to watch the space for a few days to determine if you have "sun" (6 hours or more of sun a day), "part shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun) or "shade" (less than 2 hours of sun). When you follow each plant link on our list to our webpage on that plant, you will be able to determine if that shrub is appropriate to your space. Another caveat, don't plant your shrub too close to the wall; as it grows the shrub will expand equally all the way around and you will need to constantly prune it away from the wall, spoiling the shape of the shrub.

Amelanchier stolonifera (Running serviceberry)

Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush)

Comptonia peregrina (Sweet fern)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (Shrubby cinquefoil)

Hibiscus moscheutos (Crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Lonicera dioica (Limber honeysuckle)

Rhododendron canadense (Rhodora)

Ribes cynosbati (Eastern prickly gooseberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Running serviceberry
Amelanchier stolonifera

Coastal pepperbush
Clethra alnifolia

Sweet fern
Comptonia peregrina

Shrubby cinquefoil
Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Crimsoneyed rosemallow
Hibiscus moscheutos

Limber honeysuckle
Lonicera dioica

Rhodora
Rhododendron canadense

Eastern prickly gooseberry
Ribes cynosbati

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

More Shrubs Questions

Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
January 27, 2014 - Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last ye...
view the full question and answer

Orange rhododendrons for Millinocket ME
June 15, 2012 - Where will I find orange rhododendron in Maine? Or orange rhododendron that will thrive in Maine?
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in California
February 21, 2010 - I have steep slope, southwestern facing, minimal shade in Southern California. The soil is rocky. Because of fire danger, I would rather not plant grasses. Do you have a suggestion?
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
March 12, 2009 - Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?
view the full question and answer

Need plants for privacy screen and noise reduction in Dallas.
January 07, 2015 - Our backyard is on the north side of our house and is adjacent to the south side of LBJ Freeway (I-635) in Dallas. TXDOT only constructed an 8' concrete wall along our portion of its expanded right-o...
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