Contact Us Host an Event 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

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

Transplant shock in Vacccinum corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
June 28, 2007 - Blueberry plants - We planted Northland and Blue Crop, 2 of each. All 4 plants have some leaves that are turning brown. This starts at the tip of the leaf, eventually encompasses the entire leaf, a...
view the full question and answer

Different kinds of plants living in subarctic areas
March 10, 2008 - What are the different kinds of plants live in the subarctic areas?
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Replacement of barberry hedge with native, bird-friendly plants
August 30, 2006 - I am looking to replace an existing barberry hedge with a deciduous hedge, using a plant that is native to the northeast. I am in zone 6. The site is sun/part sun with decent drainage. The mature si...
view the full question and answer

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

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