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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 - March 28, 2013

From: Cincinnati, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Alternative shrub for Greyowl Juniper from Cincinnati OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I don't love Greyowl Juniper which our landscaper is recommending for a low planting in front of the house. Can you recommend an alternative? I don't care for the grayish color or the spiky look of the branches.

ANSWER:

Juniperus virginia 'Grey Owl' is a selection, a female clone, of Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) which, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map is native to Ohio but not to Hamilton County. We do not quite understand the "low" designation' as the Grey Owl grows to a mature height of 4-5 ft., and mature width of 6-8 ft. We will go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search about the middle of that page, select on Ohio for the state, "shrub" for Habit, 1 - 3 ft for Height and "evergreen" for Leaf Retention. This resulted in 11 possibilities. We will suggest some of these, all of which are native to Ohio. Follow each plant link to our weblink on that plant to discover its sunlight, water requirements, and preferred soils. You can use the same procedure to make your own selections:

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)

Andromeda polifolia (Bog rosemary)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

Epigaea repens (Trailing arbutus)

Gaultheria hispidula (Creeping snowberry)

Gaultheria procumbens (Eastern teaberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Bog rosemary
Andromeda polifolia

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Trailing arbutus
Epigaea repens

Creeping snowberry
Gaultheria hispidula

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

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