In need of a suggestion....

satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)June 12, 2009

So, I've got that itch to start working on a new area of the yard. One of my new Montmorencies didn't make it, and the other is looking rough, so .... I need to plant something somewhere else in the yard to help me get over it!

I'm all out of ideas. The perfect plant I want right now would have the following constraints:

- Evergreen

- Not a yew or holly (incl. inkberry and winterberry!)

- Good shape habit without excessive pruning

- Full shade to partial shade

- Vigorous grower, gets to full size in 2-3 years)

- 3.5' to 4.5' tall and wide (4' is perfect)

- Dark leaves preferred, but willing to go light or variegated

- Soil in this area is amended clay, area drains moderately well

- Near a water hose, so it will take some occasional impact

Suggestions for something weird or uncommon, like, say ... Hebes ... are welcome, assuming you can tell me where to find them locally ;)

Suggestions for something like rhododendrons or viburnums are OK also, assuming they truly are 'evergreen' and not just 'mostly winter hardy' (at this location 'defoliation surprises' won't be welcome)

Plants that we won't consider because we already have them or do not really like them: Holly, Yew, Boxwood, Barberry, Juniper, Nandina

I wanted to go with a banana shrub, but it will get too big for this location!

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How about Morella cerifera 'Suwannee Elf'? I got one last year and was just admiring how purdy it is this year. I got at the Fernbank sale. I should take a picture of it. Not a lot of info on the web about it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 6:04PM
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I think anise can handle the shade, but it will get big...and it's not very unique. Cleyera could handle those conditions too, but...again...doesn't really fit the unique requirement. Variegated pittosporum might get a little big for the space, but it doesn't mind getting pruned. Would it be too shady for a red twig dogwood?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 3:48PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

August Beauty Gardenia is perfect. Pink, sunny, double or blushing knockouts (not the original) would also work but they do need a bit of pruning to keep them round and bushy.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 4:28PM
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I think Leucothoe (agarista) can take lots of shade. There is a dwarf one which i think is called Leprechaun.

Also Sarcococca (sweetbox), which gets (tiny) fragrant white flowers in late winter. I think S. confusa gets around 3-4', while S. hookeriania is smaller.

For flowers, dwarf mountain laurel maybe? Or winter daphne does well in shade.

I have some evergreen azaleas (white ones, GG Gerbing i think) in deep shade and so far they are flowering well (2 yrs now).

Rhodie might get too big?

My mother grew lots of Hebes in her garden in England. They have lovely foliage but i do believe they do better in alkali soil (and i think maybe more sun)...

Or you could go for something a bit more tropical-looking, like Fatsia japonica or Farfugium "gigantea".

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 6:30PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

@Esh: Where is that list of evergreen plants you mentioned last time I' was looking for my neighbor's foundation planting? You'd mentioned that the question came up so much, you'd put together a list of evergreen plantings based on size, habit, etc. I'd love to see that!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 8:05PM
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Why it's on my hard drive, of course! Email me if you want and I'll send it to you.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 9:07PM
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