Rent Shop 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
2 ratings

Monday - October 13, 2008

From: Victoria, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for a barrier hedge
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a native hedge I can plant to provide privacy? I have hostile neighbors behind me and would rather plant a hedge than put up a fence. I looked through the Virginia native species and didn't recognize any hedges. Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

It's a shame that Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) probably wouldn't thrive in Virginia. A native of the desert Southwest, it is also called the "babysitter plant" because baby lambs could be encircled with it and not even the coyotes would come through it. But, of course, there is always the problem that something stickery on one side is stickery on the other side. 

We do want to caution you that, while we can probably suggest some plants that would grow pretty densely and make passage through them uncomfortable, they are not going to grow up overnight. It could easily be five years or more before you will have sufficient height to feel you are sheltered from activity on the other side. There will be expense and labor involved in purchasing and planting the shrubs, and you will need to get enough that they will begin to grow together in a not too unreasonable length of time. So, be sure and weigh those factors against the cost and labor of putting up a fence, which would give you quicker separation, if not quite as attractive. The plants we suggest will all be native to North America and to Virginia, because that is what the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is all about, plants that are already adapted to the area in which they are being grown, which means they will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Our selections are all evergreen, as we assume you want summer and winter privacy. They are not necessarily "hedge" plants, but will grow fairly quickly and densely. These plants are all commercially available, and if you want sources where you can purchase them, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants. 

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)


Morella cerifera

Rhododendron maximum

Ilex glabra

Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana

 

 





 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Native vine for a privacy fence in Austin, TX.
June 16, 2015 - I have a vacant lot in Greenshores that has two 6' iron fences. Neighbor planted some sort of vine that grows up and along fence for privacy, white flowers when in bloom, I assume its Jasmine? On ne...
view the full question and answer

Large shrub or tree for front door in Houston
January 16, 2013 - I am in search of a shrub or tree to plant next to my front door. I want a showy medium sized shrub or tree (8 to 12 ft), decorative, and a privacy screen since my front door faces my next door neig...
view the full question and answer

Water-Wise Privacy Hedge for California
February 22, 2016 - I would like recommendations for a privacy hedge that would grow at least 12 feet tall with non-invasive roots and hopefully water-wise in Los Angeles.
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge Plant for CA
January 26, 2016 - We recently moved into a new home right on the border of Cherry Valley and Beaumont, Ca. We are at an elevation of 2,900 ft. We are looking for a plant that we can use as a privacy hedge along our bac...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool privacy from Peachtree GA
March 20, 2012 - We currently reside in Georgia and have a pool surrounded by a fence. However, because our house is located on a hill, my neighbor on the left side can very easily still see my backyard and we can see...
view the full question and answer

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