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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.

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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.

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Wednesday - June 12, 2013

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Doorway Framing Shrub for Arizona
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

My husband and I live in Buckeye, Arizona and have a door that faces west. Anything on our patio (including our metal door) gets sizzling hot! Is there a flowering shrub that we can put right up against the foundation of our home to "frame" the entryway to shade our front door?

ANSWER:

To compile a list of native plants to consider as doorway sentries that will provide shade, go to our Native Plant Database. Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Arizona, Habit – shrubs, Duration – perennial, Light Requirement – sun, Soil Moisture – dry, and Height – 6-12 ft. You can further narrow down the list of potential plants by indicating whether you prefer  specific blooming times or blooming colors.

Some possible plants to consider are:
Acacia constricta (whitethorn acacia) 9-15 ft. tall, multi-trunk tree. Available as a thornless selection as well.

Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush) Up to 9 ft tall. Pick specimens that have a short trunk (instead of being branched at the base). Very drought tolerant.

Dodonaea viscosa (Florida hopbush) To 12 ft tall (and same spread). Good for rocky, dry sites.

Lycium berlandieri (Berlandier’s wolfberry) Up to 7 ft tall and about 4 feet wide. Lavender colored blooms during spring to fall followed by round, red berries.

Mahonia haematocarpa (red barberry) Rounded shrub to 8 ft. Showy yellow flowers followed by purplish-red berries. Foliage prickly.

Quercus turbinella (sonoran scrub oak) A dense shrub to 12 ft high. Can be trained into tree from. Attractive evergreen foliage.

Please check the mature size and spread of these shrubs to see if they will fit your site.

 

From the Image Gallery


Whitethorn acacia
Vachellia constricta

Big sagebrush
Artemisia tridentata

Florida hopbush
Dodonaea viscosa

Berlandier's wolfberry
Lycium berlandieri

Red barberry
Mahonia haematocarpa

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