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?


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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 04, 2013

From: Palm Springs, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can damage the wall over time. What will grow well in Palm Springs, CA. Help Me! New Homeowner


Since our mission here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes", we wouldn't recommend you plant Ficus sp. since they are native to Asia and the Mediterranean area.  Here are some recommendations that are native to Riverside County, California:

Larrea tridentata (Creosote bush) is evergreen with yellow flowers and aromatic leaflets.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery (in Escondido and Santa Margarita) and from Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, CA.

Atriplex canescens (Chamiso) is a semi-evergreen shrub.  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation and from Las Pilitas

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow) is a deciduous large shrub or small tree with fragrant beautiful flowers.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas.

Rosa woodsii (Woods' rose) is decidious and not very thorny.   Here is more information about Rosa woodsii var. glabrata from Las Pilitas.

Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) is a gray-green shrub that appears evergreen, but actually loses its leaves but not all at once.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas and from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm) will eventually grow to 50 feet.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas and from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush) is evergreen.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas.

By the way, it's Mr Smarty PLANTS (not Pants)!



From the Image Gallery

Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata

Atriplex canescens

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

Simmondsia chinensis

California fan palm
Washingtonia filifera

California flannelbush
Fremontodendron californicum

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plants to augment a privacy fence in Virginia Beach.
February 24, 2009 - I live in Virginia Beach, VA and I have a small back yard about 75 ft deep and 60 ft wide. We have a six ft privacy fence but still have many undesirable views over the fence I would love to block out...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Vine for San Antonio Trellis
November 23, 2011 - I have a new trellis at the end of my patio on which I want to grow an evergreen vine. The area is fairly shady. I had settled on Carolina Jasmine, but read that it is very toxic which is worrisome ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shield for Long Island, NY
May 13, 2009 - I live in Long Island New York (Smithtown), Zone 6, I think. My yard has mostly shade and I would like to plant something for privacy along my back fence because my neighbors house is close and their...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for Dallas-Fort Worth area
May 18, 2010 - Our red tip photina hedge is slowly succumbing to black spot and we'll need to replace it within the year. (Yes, I now understand red tips come in two varieties: diseased and about to become disease...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center