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
5 ratings

Tuesday - February 10, 2009

From: Severn, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go native. Can you suggest a native alternative to these compact oriental beauties?

ANSWER:

Among the most difficult requests we receive are those for landscape plant recommendations..  Some of the issues to consider when choosing a new plant for your landscape are how the landscape will is used, how the plant will fit with other plants and features in the landscape, ultimate size of the new plant, soil, water, nutrition and maintenance needs of the plant, potential insect, disease, and pets and children poisoning problems, and, of course, personal aesthetic considerations.  Unfortunately, we cannot answer many of those questions; only you, the owner can do that.  However, we can make some suggestions for some plants that might work for you.  Here is a list of selected Maryland native plant species.  One or more of these plants might work for you as a replacement for your azaleas.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry),

Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub),

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea),

Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweetpepperbush),

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle),

Eubotrys racemosa (swamp doghobble),

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire),

Paxistima canbyi (Canby's mountain-lover),

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark),

Rhododendron arborescens (smooth azalea),

Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea),

Rhododendron prinophyllum (early azalea),

Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea),

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet),

Spiraea betulifolia (white spirea),

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush),

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry),

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry),

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)

 


Callicarpa americana

Calycanthus floridus

Ceanothus americanus

 


Clethra alnifolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Diervilla lonicera

Eubotrys racemosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hypericum prolificum

 


Ilex glabra

Itea virginica

Paxistima canbyi

Physocarpus opulifolius

Rhododendron arborescens

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Rhododendron periclymenoides

Spiraea alba

Spiraea tomentosa

Symphoricarpos albus

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Vaccinium angustifolium
 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Tropical plants for a pool-side planter in Cape Coral FL
April 19, 2010 - I live in Southwest Florida and have a pool inside a cage with a pool planter built into the deck around part of the pool. What kind of tropical plants can I put in the planter that are not root inva...
view the full question and answer

Eight Foot Screen for Austin, TX
September 01, 2011 - I'm looking for a fast-growing shrub to "extend" the height of my fence and provide privacy in my yard in Austin. My lot is pretty much full sun and very dry, mostly clay soil. 8' is my goal. Than...
view the full question and answer

Shrub with red two-globed berries
June 15, 2012 - I am looking for the name of a red berry with 2 globes attached to each other on a plant with small soft oval shaped leaves.I live in Maryland and they are maturing now. These bushes are in the park ...
view the full question and answer

Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
September 15, 2012 - I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle or cherry laurel in Austin?
November 15, 2009 - For a very shady area under a large old oak tree with oak toxic soil, would a Wax Myrtle or a Cherry Laurel (caroliniana) be better? Looking for an evergreen screening tree up to 20ft, but it only get...
view the full question and answer

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