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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - May 13, 2010

From: Fairfax, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small evergreen shrubs for Fairfax VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 2' wide 6' long strip between a brick wall and the front walk leading up to the entry way. Lavender has been a pain and I would like to replace it with an attractive evergreen alternate. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

"Evergreen" is often the monkey wrench our correspondents throw into their plant recommendation questions. In Fairfax County VA, at the northeastern tip of the state and in USDA Hardiness Zones 6b to 7a, we can surely find some shrubs native to your area that fill the bill, but the choice will probably not be large. You didn't mention how much sun this strip would have, so we could not enter that into our search specifications. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun daily, "part shade" two to six hours of sun, and "shade" less than 2 hours. You will need to follow each plant link to the page on that particular plant in our Native Plant Database to find out what sun exposure is required, and what the benefits, propagation and growing conditions are.

In addition, if your space is only 2' wide, you don't want anything that grows too big, as you would have to constantly prune to keep the plant within bounds. We know of only one evergreen shrub native to your area that has a number of 'dwarf' versions that have been developed. Our Native Plant Database only includes plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown, but as the 'dwarf' is usually a selection of a shorter version of the plant, we will include links to some of those plants that have been developed into smaller versions. 

Small Evergreen Shrubs for Fairfax VA:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - links to information on 'dwarf' versions

     'Nana'

     'Stokes Dwarf'

     'Bordeaux'

     'Schilling's Dwarf'

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Gaultheria procumbens

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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