Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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
1 rating

Monday - May 03, 2010

From: St. Augustine, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Dwarf foundation plants for St. Augustine FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Need to put in fast, low growing (3' max) foundation plants that would be frost hardy and work well in the St. Augustine area of Northeast Florida.

ANSWER:

With very few exceptions, there are no shrubs that will grow in Florida that will not get taller than 3 ft. very quickly. Your sub-tropical climate and normally frequent rains are an inspiration to most shrubs to head for 6 to 8 feet. So, you may find dwarf varieties of some plants native to your area. These cultivars (cultivated variety) or selections are being developed by growers all the time. Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, we will first look in our Recommended Species List, selecting Florida on the map and then "shrub" for General Appearance. Since you did not say if you needed plants that tolerate shade or full sun, we will have to leave that specification off. One excellent foundation plant is Ilex vomitoria (yaupon); you will definitely need a dwarf version of that. Follow the plant links to each page on that plant to find out its normal size, whether or not it is evergreen, and what moisture and sunlight requirements it has. 

Short Shrubs  for St. Augustine, FL:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - you will definitely need a dwarf of this. Here is a list of references.:

     'Schilling's Dwarf'

     'Nana'

     'Stokes Dwarf'

     'Micron'

Malvaviscus arboreus (wax mallow)

Vaccinium myrsinites (shiny blueberry) - more information from Floridata

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - This is actually a grass, 2-4 ft. tall, with graceful seed heads that bend over. It makes a nice short hedge and is a shade plant.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Gaylussacia dumosa

Ilex vomitoria

Malvaviscus arboreus

Vaccinium myrsinites

Chasmanthium latifolium

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Need plants for a hedge in Iredell, Tx
August 28, 2009 - I have six Penelope roses that I planted for a hedge about 14 years ago. I need to replace them. Will you please recommend heat tolerant plants that grow between 3-5 feet tall, preferable blooming, ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for running bamboo in California
May 20, 2013 - We currently have running bamboo planted next to the side our house facing West, which has provided wonderful shade in front of two large windows. However, because it is running bamboo we are afraid i...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a male Southern Wax Myrtle in Newport News, VA.
August 20, 2012 - We are looking to add more southern wax Myrtles to make a hedge row with them. We already have one in the ground that is a female. I have called around to see if anyone sells the male but i keep get...
view the full question and answer

Companion Plants for Texas Mountain Laurel
March 12, 2015 - I am building a garden from scratch and need help. I want to plant a Texas mountain laurel on each front section of my house in front of a window, and I also want to use Thumbelina Leigh English laven...
view the full question and answer

Control of non-native invasive Japanese Barberry from Enfield NH
April 22, 2014 - I recently bought a home that is bordered by woods and a sizable area of invasive Japanese Barberry growing on a steep hill in and around a stone wall making it that much harder to dig up. I've alway...
view the full question and answer

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