Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

Wednesday - July 08, 2015

From: Redding, CA
Region: California
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Draought-tolerant screening shrub for Shasta County, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

It has been suggested to me that I plant phodocarpus 'maki' along my fence for needed privacy due to it's dimensions. I need something that does not grow too wide. I would not be pruning them as I prefer a more natural look. I very much prefer to plant natives. Do you have any suggestions for a good alternative that would be a California native? Drought tolerant would be best. Redding has some freezing temperatures in winter and it extremely hot in the summer. Thank you. Miriam

ANSWER:

Phodocarpus macrophyllus var. 'Maki', native to Japan and China, is reported to grow 8-10 feet high and 3-5 feet wide.  This gives me an idea as to size plant you want.

Your Shasta County Native Plant Society (NPS) has an article on Drought Tolerant Plants by Suzy Gallauger.  Here are several suggestions from that list that are evergreen and grow near that size:

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) is evergreen and usually grows only to 6-8 feet high and 4-5 feet wide.  It has very showy red flowers and red berries.  Here is more information from Shasta County Native Plant Society.

Frangula californica ssp. californica (California buckthorn) is evergreen and grows to 3-12 feet tall.  Here is more information and photos from Shasta County NPS and from Las Pilitas Nursery (note they give it a different scientific name – a synonym, Rhamnus californica.)

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (Smooth mountain mahogany) is semi-evergreen to evergreen.  Here is more information from Shasta County NPS under its synonym Cercocarpus betuloides.

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' (Howard McMinn arctostaphylos) is evergreen and grows 6 to 8 feet high with an equal spread.

You can find other suggestions in the Drought Tolerant Plants article on the Shasta County NPS page.

 

From the Image Gallery


Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Smooth mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

More Shrubs Questions

Non-invasive, modest-sized shrub for driveway edge
February 24, 2010 - I need a hedge type plant for the end of driveway so cars know how far they can drive in. I would like them to be 3'-5' and the roots not to be too heavy that they raise wood barrier or grow under g...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for Dallas Street
August 20, 2014 - I am looking for a native shrub for Dallas, Texas. It is full sun with a maximum height of 3 feet to border the street edge of a shopping center. It will get irrigated.
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Canyon Lake, TX
February 07, 2014 - I need some help. I live near the Guadalupe River in Canyon Lake, TX and my backyard faces a busy street. I need a fast growing thick shrub for my backyard for privacy since I cannot afford a fence at...
view the full question and answer

Small shrubs for flower bed in Denton, Texas
September 16, 2009 - I have a small flowerbed that faces south on the front of my house. What small shrubs would be best in that situation?
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

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