Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support 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
2 ratings

Monday - April 30, 2012

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen for privacy screen in San Antonio
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 this is not a good choice due to a fungus that may attack it at some point. What are some good options? Thanks!

ANSWER:

First of all, since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America, we wouldn't recommend planting Photina x fraseri (Red-tip photinea) since it is a hybrid of P. glabra (from Japan) and P. serrulata (from China).  Plus, it is very susceptible to leafspot fungus.

Below are some possibilities for evergreen shrubs for your fence.   I am afraid that none of them could be considered fast growing

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) and here is more information.  Growth rate is moderate to moderately fast.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) and here is more information.  Growth rate is fairly fast with adequate water.

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) and here is more information.  Growth rate is slow.

Guajacum angustifolium (Texas lignum-vitae) and here is more information.  Growth rate unknown.

Schaefferia cuneifolia (Desert yaupon) and here are more photos and information.  Growth rate is moderate.

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) and here are more information and photos.  Growth rate is moderate to moderately fast.

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) and here is more information.  Growth rate is slow.

You might consider using a combination of several of these to make a more interesting looking hedge.

You can search for other possibilities in both Texas-Central Recommended and Texas-South Recommended lists since Bexar County is almost on the border of the two regions. Use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the results to size and general appearance.  Once you have used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option you can also search by "deciduous", "semi-evergreen" or "evergreen."

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Texas lignum-vitae
Guaiacum angustifolium

Desert yaupon
Schaefferia cuneifolia

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Plant Lists Questions

Native Plants for Year Round Interest
February 16, 2015 - I'm involved in a paradigm shift from traditional bedding plants (petunias, zinnias, begonias, etc.) to native plants. I realize that native plants have natural life cycles where they look pretty bad...
view the full question and answer

List of native plants found in South Texas counties
August 22, 2015 - Does the LBJ Wildflower Ctr. have a place on its site where lists of native plants found in each Texas county can be accessed? I am working on a comparative database of commonly used sources (e.g., La...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance, shade tolerant groundcover for Pacific Northwest
August 09, 2012 - What's a good low maintenance, shade tolerant ground cover for the Pacific Northwest? It needs to have good erosion control, too.
view the full question and answer

Planting under Pine Trees in Pocatello ID
April 08, 2014 - Hi I was wondering if you could give me some ideas of what I could plant under and near some pine trees for my area. The trees are huge and so it is also constant shade where I want to plant. Thanks f...
view the full question and answer

Vines for Madison, Wisconsin
March 12, 2015 - What are some good options for non-aggressive native vines for southern Wisconsin? I am looking for something that can cover a chain-link fence and benefit local insects. I don't want it to take ov...
view the full question and answer

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