En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Dwarf, Evergreen Shrub Suggestions for Staten Island

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

Wednesday - August 14, 2013

From: Staten Island, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Dwarf, Evergreen Shrub Suggestions for Staten Island
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I had two rows of bushes in the front of my house. The back row of bushes is what is commonly known as a hedge. Unfortunately due to Sandy I lost the front row of bushes. Please help me, I am in contact with someone that is going to remove and replace this row. I would like an evergreen or a shrub that is dwarf about two to three feet high that is hardy and low maintenance and will stay green all year round. We live in Staten Island, N.Y.

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: State – New York, Habit – shrub, Duration – Perennial, Leaf Retention – evergreen, Light Requirement – Sun, Soil Moisture – moist, Size – 1-3 ft. You can narrow down this search further by indicating blooming time and bloom color too if you like.
These search criteria will give you two shrubs to consider (eliminating Kinnikinnick which is too short). Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. You will have to determine a "hedge suitability rating" for each plant. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.

Dwarf evergreen shrubs to consider:

Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary) A low, evergreen shrub growing from 8 in to 3 ft. in height. The shrub does not have many branches, but many shrubs will grow together to form a clump. The small, firm, narrow leaves are blue-green. Leaf margins roll under. Several small, bell-shaped, pink or white flowers occur together in a curved umbel at the tip of a branch. Demands strongly acidic, moist soil. All parts are poisonous.

Ledum groenlandicum (bog Labrador tea) A low, evergreen shrub with densely hairy twigs and rounded, terminal clusters of white flowers. Rusty labrador-tea is a small, globular, broadleaf evergreen shrub, to 3 ft. tall, with a picturesque habit created by many erect stems and upright, spreading branches. The smooth, slightly cracked, bark is coppery-orange to reddish-brown. Thick, glossy, narrowly elliptic leaves are aromatic. Upright, bell-shaped flowers comprise flat-topped, terminal clusters.
This northern shrub, typical of acidic, boggy areas, can easily be recognized by the woolly brown undersurfaces of its leaves. A tea can be made from the leaves, as was done during the American Revolution. In northern Canada, the plant is known as Hudson’s Bay Tea. Ideally grown in acid, wet to moist organic soils. A slow-growing, short lived shrub that demands acid soil. All parts are toxic.

Dwarf deciduous shrubs to consider:
Betula nana (dwarf birch)
Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)
Vaccinium uliginosum (alpine blueberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Bog rosemary
Andromeda polifolia

Bog rosemary
Andromeda polifolia

Bog labrador tea
Ledum groenlandicum

Bog labrador tea
Ledum groenlandicum

Carolina rose
Rosa carolina

Alpine blueberry
Vaccinium uliginosum

More Shrubs Questions

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

Native shrubs or trees for privacy shield in Cross Plains TX
March 31, 2009 - I'm looking for a small tree or large bush that will stay green year round to use for a privacy shield. We have electrical lines overhead so I need to keep it a low growing tree or bush that will he...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow under a black walnut tree in PA
July 03, 2011 - I want to plant some shrubs and flowers in an area with southern exposure that is dry, sunny, and within the drip line of, and partially under a large black walnut tree. I had been told that native pl...
view the full question and answer

Flowering evergreen shrubs for sun in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I am looking for a flowering evergreen shrubs that can take all afternoon sun(on the west side of our house. Preferably 2ft high and 2 ft wide. I had planted a few Salvia Greggii(Autumn Sage) which on...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Hamelia patens, Firebush
June 23, 2006 - I have a Hamelia Patens (Fire Bush) it says it will grow to 12 feet high and 5-6 feet across. Can I keep pruning it to about 5 feet without damaging the shrub?
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