Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Monday - August 19, 2013

From: Point Richmond, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small shrub for Point Richmond CA
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 salvia plant and lavender. I live near the water but not on the water, in Point Richmond, CA. It will get full sun. Ground will be damp once the plant's roots get deep (clay) but I'll give it plenty of fresh soil initially. thank you! ps: Lupin has been recommended but haven't tried it yet.

ANSWER:

There are many plants that will fit your 4-6 feet tall criteria, but it is more difficult to find a California native that is as slender as you would like.  You may have to resort to pruning to keep the width you want.  Lupinus species do offer several possibilities:

Lupinus arboreus (Yellow bush lupine) grows 4 to 5 feet tall. Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita and Escondido CA.

Lupinus polyphyllus (Bigleaf lupine) grows 3 to 5 feet high and 1.5 to 3 feet wide.  Here is more information from Seven Oaks Native Nursery in Albany OR.

Lupinus albifrons (Silver lupine) grows 3 to 5 feet high  Here is information about Lupinus albifrons (Silver bush lupine) from Las Pilitas Nursery.

You can see the Lupinus species available at Bay Natives in San Francisco; at Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay

Here are a couple of other possibilities:

Trichostema lanatum (Woolly bluecurls) is an evergreen shrub that grows to 3 or 4 feet high and almost as wide.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and from Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay.

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush) can grow to 12 feet tall or more, but with judicious pruning might work.  Here is more information from San Francisco Botanical Garden and Las Pilitas Nursery.

You can find other possibilities for nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants by searching in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bush lupine
Lupinus arboreus

Bigleaf lupine
Lupinus polyphyllus

Silver lupine
Lupinus albifrons

Woolly bluecurls
Trichostema lanatum

California flannelbush
Fremontodendron californicum

More Shrubs Questions

When is the best time to transplant Esperanza bushe in Buda, TX?
September 04, 2013 - When is the best time to transplant an Esperanza bush? I want to move it because it is overwhelming my front yard. Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Native plants for restoring a North Carolina pond site
April 12, 2011 - I reconstructed the dam to a 50 year old cattle pond at our high-end residential development in Charlotte, NC. There are many large mature trees around the pond but also some good sun exposure at two ...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
April 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with no...
view the full question and answer

Natural location of Ceanothus impressus in California
May 21, 2006 - Where is Ceanothus impressus 'victoria' native? I need as specific as you can. Thanks much.
view the full question and answer

How to Prune a Mountain Laurel to make it more tree like in Hendersen, NV
April 28, 2011 - How do I prune a Texas Mountain Laurel into a tree? Just bought a 15 gal. with two trunks above the crown. Was told that multiple trunks are their natural growth, which is OK. But all research call...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.