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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wednesday - July 06, 2016

From: Koloa, HI
Region: Hawaii
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Shrubs for Privacy Fence in Hawaii
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in Hawaii and need to create some privacy along a wall of my house. The septic drain field is 5' away and I am looking for 6'-8' shrubs that have shallow roots. Would something like cordyline fruticosa, crotons or areca palms work? Anything you suggest? Planters?

ANSWER:

Greetings and sorry for the delay in replying to your question. There are three native shrubs in our Native Plant Database for Hawaii that perhaps might fit your requirements for a privacy hedge. The plants you mentioned (Crodyline fruticosa, crotons and areca palms) are not natives and so they aren't in our www.wildflower.org database.

The three that we can suggest you investigate are:

Mexican primrose willow (Ludwigia octovalvis)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) (May require pruning to keep it at the desired height)

Florida hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa)

Planters certainly will solve the issue of plant roots invading the septic bed. Go for it!

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican primrose-willow
Ludwigia octovalvis

Mexican primrose-willow
Ludwigia octovalvis

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Florida hopbush
Dodonaea viscosa

Florida hopbush
Dodonaea viscosa

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