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
6 ratings

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Holly Ridge , NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shrub for part shade for hedge in Holly Ridge NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in Coastal NC. We would like a type of shrub for the front of our home which is partial shade, similar style to a boxwood or trainable hedge. What NC native would compare?

ANSWER:

There will surely be some native shrubs for North Carolina that will serve the function you describe, but they won't "compare" with boxwood. One of the reasons so many plants non-native to North America are on the market is because publications and retailers convince the gardening public that they must have a certain appearance or shape or bloom in their gardens. When we looked at the shrubs native to North Carolina in our Native Plant Database, we discovered that many do not grow natively on the North Carolina coastline, but more of them seem to be native to the north and east in your state. The ones we did find are more open and loose-growing and would be difficult to prune into a shape. We personally prefer that sort of thing in native plants, but it is not like boxwood.  We searched in our Native Plant Database for shrubs that were low-growing, and found 6 that both liked your area of Onslow County and did not get over about 3 feet. One other, Morella cerifera (wax myrtle), is known to have dwarf cultivars that would keep it in the same height range.  These were chosen in the database under COMBINATION SEARCH by selecting North Carolina, then "shrub" under General Appearance and "part shade" under Light Requirements. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that particular plant to learn more about it.

Shrubs for Holly Ridge NC:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Erythrina herbacea (redcardinal)

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf witchalder)

Ilex myrtifolia (myrtle dahoon) - more information and pictures

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Morella cerifera

Callicarpa americana

Erythrina herbacea

Morella cerifera

Ceanothus americanus

Fothergilla gardenii

Ilex myrtifolia
 
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Should Solanum eleagnifolium, silverleaf nightshade, be removed from yard
October 01, 2009 - I live in Upstate NY. I'm quite sure, after checking many sites/pictures, that I have a couple specimens of Silver Leaf Night Shade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) growing in the "wild" portion of my side...
view the full question and answer

Tough grasses for shade
November 24, 2010 - What kind of grass/groundcover can I put in our backyard that is shady/dry and has 50 lb. high energy dog traffic? Was considering Horse Herb but not sure, as it sounds like you can't get rid of it,...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a moist, wooded area in North Carolina
December 06, 2014 - I am looking to plant some native flowers in a wooded area in Surry County NC. The chosen location is fully shaded beside a creek. The water table typically sets about 2 feet below the surface of th...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for heavy clay soil in east Austin
May 02, 2007 - I live in East Austin and have very thick clay soil on my property. I also have a lot of shade and partial sun/shade. Can you suggest some native plant varieties that are well-adapted to these condi...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

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