Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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 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

Is Iva Angustifolia Salt Tolerant?
October 22, 2015 - I was wondering about the salt tolerance of narrow-leaf sumpweed (Iva angustifolia). It is the predominant species on a disturbed site in Haynesville, LA where brine contamination is in question. Un...
view the full question and answer

Source of Berlandiera pumila seeds from Coral Gables FL
June 07, 2012 - Where can I buy plants or seeds of Berlandiera pumila?
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant ground cover for Massachusetts
July 11, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants I am looking for drought resistant,low maintenance ground cover for a LEED certified project in Florence MA. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for Shade Under a Sweetgum
March 25, 2015 - I have 3 large sweetgum trees that produce so much shade each summer, and grass, even grass meant for shade, won't grow here. It's become a barren desert! I have English ivy but it only seems to gro...
view the full question and answer

Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
March 25, 2013 - What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
view the full question and answer

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