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 16, 2008

From: Peoria, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants to hide utility boxes
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergreens behind the boxes and something in front. Looking for a couple perennials and an alternative to ornamental grass?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is assuming you want herbaceous plants rather woody (shrubs or trees), or at least small shrubs.  If so, here are a few with attractive flowers:

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Euphorbia corollata (flowering spurge)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

You can find more possibilities for commercially available landscaping plants for Illinois by visiting our Recommended Species page and selecting 'Illinois' from the map there. 


Asclepias tuberosa

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Echinacea purpurea

Euphorbia corollata

Hypericum prolificum

Monarda fistulosa
 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Salt tolerant plants for Long Beach
May 12, 2013 - When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach, it has killed all my plants and now almost all of Long Beach is left with dead dried brown vegetation. I want to replant front with bushes and flowers. What woul...
view the full question and answer

Possible mildew on standing cypress
May 29, 2008 - My mother-in-law took some standing cypress seeds from Texas to Virginia several years ago. They have always done very well, but this year they are growing very tall, but the bottom half of the stalk...
view the full question and answer

Need source of plants for making teas in Bend, Oregon.
July 08, 2012 - I love to make my own tea, just moved to central Oregon and want to know some good plants I can find anywhere in town and can use in my teas.
view the full question and answer

Destruction of Straggler Daisy in Austin
December 18, 2011 - I hate Straggler Daisy. Not to be offensive, but it appears from other posts on this site that you, Mr. Smarty Plants, and many others would like to treat it as a protected species. It is taking over ...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a Shaded Patio Container in Missouri
April 17, 2015 - What kind of native plants would grow well in a pot on a fully shaded patio? I live in Kansas City, Missouri. The patio faces north and doesn't get any direct sunlight, but it gets lots of indirect...
view the full question and answer

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