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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 29, 2011

From: Toledo, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen Deck Plant for Oregon
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Need evergreen shrub to grow in shade in container 5ft tall for deck.

ANSWER:

Wow!   You have a number of great choices.  I used the recommended species list for Oregon, then I selected “shrubs” as the aspect and “Shade <2 hrs sun”.  This still left 25 plants as possibilities.  When I read through the set, looking for evergreens, a reasonable size and native to the central coastline, I still had 9 plants on my list!

 Top of the list has got to be Mahonia aquifolium (Holly-leaf oregon-grape).  The record shows that Holly-leaf Oregon-grape is a 3-6 ft., mound-shaped, broadleaf evergreen shrub with pinnately compound, glossy, leathery leaves.  The 5-9 dark-green leaflets are armed with spiny teeth and turn reddish in fall.  Terminal clusters of bright-yellow, bell-shaped flowers are followed by clusters of tiny blue, grape-like fruits.  The bronzy copper color or the new growth in spring is an added bonus.  This stout shrub is the state flower of Oregon - Sounds like a good conversation piece to me!

Two other great choices are Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) and Vaccinium ovatum (California huckleberry).  The rhododendron, of course, because it is showy, and the huckleberry as it has edible berries [whether or not you choose to]!

                   
Mahonia aquifolium
               Rhododendron macrophyllum        Gaultheria shallon

 Rounding out my list of possible shrubs:  Ledum groenlandicum (Bog labrador tea),  Gaultheria shallon (Salal)Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush)Ceanothus sanguineus (Oregon teatree), and Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy manzanita)

And – just to check – rather than a 5 ft. shrub, is it the container that is 5 ft tall?  If so, then a trailing shrub like Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) may be a good choice instead.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Evergreen for privacy screen in San Antonio
April 30, 2012 - I am looking to plant native fast-growing evergreens that will provide privacy (growing taller than our fence). We live in San Antonio and the Red Tip Photinia seems to be everywhere! I heard that t...
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
view the full question and answer

Advice about lavender (Lavandula sp.)
June 03, 2008 - I recently visited a Lavender Farm just outside Gainseville Texas. I was hooked. However, when I started reading about growing Lavender I found that you should have well drained alkaline soil. Since...
view the full question and answer

Red berries growing along county road in Caldwell County, Texas
September 06, 2014 - Hello, first I would like to thank you for your time. I thank it's great that you guys and girls answer questions (I'm sure y'all are busy). That being said I will get to the question. On the sides...
view the full question and answer

Roses being attacked by spider mites
January 18, 2008 - My roses are being eaten alive by spider mites. I read that this area of Texas has a huge problem with these devils! I've tried everything to kill them to no avail! Can you help me? Gratefully yours,...
view the full question and answer

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