What's Around your A/C Unit?

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)May 31, 2014

Thinking about replacing the sweet viburnum that hide my A/C unit. The viburnum were planted by the former owner of my home. Actually, I've been thinking about it for a long time but I can't come up with the right plant. Why do I want to replace them? Because I have to trim them all the time which is not my favorite kind of gardening. :)

1) Replacement plants have to be evergreen as the A/C units in my neighborhood are on the sides of houses and mine is not too far from my neighbor's front door.
2) The plants have to be able to tolerate full sun.
3) Slow grower - don't want to hedge trim every week or two.

I took this picture for a different reason but it works to show the situation. Some of the neighbors have holly but that requires regular trimming, too. Gardenias would be great, but they are fussy and hard to get established. Camellias - too much sun. Hydrangeas - deciduous.

What do you have planted around your A/C unit?

Carol in Jacksonville

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In Jacksonville, why not go with a sun-loving variety of azalea? Encore claims their varieties can tolerate 4-6 hours of direct sun, but appreciate some afternoon shade. They would need lots of water due to the combination of sun and the drying heat/airflow put out by the A/C units.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:25AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Tradition, Thanks for the help! Is that what you have planted around your unit? If so, how are they doing? If not, what do you have?

My new neighbors on the other side, who have not yet moved in, had these Encore azaleas installed a few days ago. They asked me to check on them yesterday and I emailed them these pics. Granted, they are additionally stressed out due to the surrounding concrete. :(

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:43AM
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Yeah, they look a little parched.

I only have giant liriope planted around my units. You can't kill that stuff even if you wanted to. I have azaleas planted in other places, though. I've had mixed results with the Encore varieties (which are kinda pricey). A couple are doing great and they do indeed bloom several times a season, but I've lost one or two as well. Never lost a cheapie azalea from Wal-Mart, though. They need LOTS OF WATER during the initial establishment year. Soil cannot completely dry out.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:51AM
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Definitely not plants, rather an attractive lattice fence with a gate.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:16AM
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There's no way to hide mine because the slab that it's on butts up against the driveway (right next to the garage which is on the side of the house) unless I get those lattice things and they are so expensive it looks like it won't get hidden. I don't live in one of those elite neighborhoods, no-one cares what you have. I mean, we have everything from goats to cattle to broken down barns and sheds around here, and the house sits 150 feet from the road.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 5:41PM
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I have Philodendron bipinnatifidum around mine. The big leaves make a nice screen but they may require more pruning than you want.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 7:07PM
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those azaleas look really bad - they are way too exposed too!
how about a natal plum? it might freeze, but should come back. and it can be pruned to any size. is drought tolerant, loves sun. there are thornless varieties and dwarf/smaller ones too.
dg: USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 ðC (25 ðF)
but i read that it is cold-tolerant to -5C.

fragrant, blooms year round, fruit is pretty AND eatable.
can grow on sand.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 8:49PM
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I live in Eastern North Carolina where the temperatures can reach in the high 90's. I have some tall evergreen daylilies around my a/c and a coworker stated he placed some elephant ears around his a/c. Have you tried tropical hibiscus plants/trees that can be placed in pots or containers?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 10:37PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

I'd personally keep what you have and pay one of the neighbor's kids to cut them if you don't feel like it. What, it takes all of 10 minutes? Peel the kid off a couple of bucks and don't worry about replacing :)
The exsisting hedge looks great!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 8:14PM
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gardencraze(9b Groveland FL.)

How about some colorful Hibiscus. You don't have trim them but a couple of times a year to keep them bushy. They can take the sun and the heat from the A/C would keep from freezing if you use the heat when it's cold.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:21AM
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I agree that the existing viburnums look very nice. If it were me, I'd keep 'em. I think they balance nicely with the other things you have planted. I only wish my AC looked so good!

My AC is behind the house. I have one side screened with a bamboo panel. It screens it from the views in the house. The other sides of the AC are in a sort of work area so I don't really try to disguise it. I just put pots of rain lilies around it. Very different situation than yours.

If you're dead set on getting rid of the viburnum, there are lower growing forms of podocarpus. They still need trimming, but less.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Folks, please consider how an AC tecnician will be able to get to your AC unit if it needs attention. My husband was a tecnician for years and had a lot of trouble with clients who had plants too close to the unit for him to be able to open the unit and get into it. You don't want to have to cut down or remove plants for him to get to the unit.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 4:53PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Our ac unit is behind our house about 400 ft back from the street so luckily I don't have anything around it lol.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:27PM
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