Shrub or Hedge for Foundation Planting?

pagenieMarch 15, 2006

On the sunny side of the house we would like to plant along the foundation to soften the wall and hide some cracks.

It would be nice to have large flowering evergreen shrubs that would grow quickly and provide a backdrop for perennials.

We live in west central West Virgina on the Ohio line.

Any suggestions? Thanks, Genie

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Both are nice but consider this. If you plant a hedge and it doesn't work out you have to scrap the whole thing. If you go with shrubs and a couple don't go you only have them to remove. Steve in Baltimore

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 11:29AM
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johnfromperrycopa(zone 6 scPA)

You might be too far west to use Cherry Laurel. Perhaps China Girl Holly (you need a male somewhere to get berries) would work. Make sure you consider the mature plant width and height when you select the plants. Oops, you said sunny side of the house...Cherry Laurel may not work..might burn out or freeze out. Junipers are a possibility, but be careful some get huge. Make sure the plant won't grow up over windows. Plant far enough away from the house so they don't grow right up to the house. Move the center of the plant out beyond any roof overhang so it can get rainwater.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 5:26PM
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Laurel7286(3b Wyoming)

Listen to John above:

First rule- choose a shrub that will be the right height when it's mature, or you will wind up with something awful 5 years down the road. Also, be sure it's out beyond the eaves, not right next to the house (remember some plants cannot survive the alkaline leaching from concrete block foundations).

If you want the combination flowering+evergreen+sun you are somewhat limited in choices. How about some dwarf rhodedendrons? IF YOU HAVE DEER, be sure to buy large specimens, or they will be eaten.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 7:37PM
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My fave right now is Euonymus "Greenspire". Nicely evergreen, no thorns, grows long, straight upright branches which allow you to easily reach through the bush to the wall behind. Stays relatively narrow if you prune off the front branches. I have one growing smack up against the house wall under the porch eave - no water to speak of and its growing fine. It hides the electric meter.

I don't have a deer problem, so I really don't know if the deer would like it. If anyone in your neighborhood has euonymus "Manhattan", then "Greenspire" should be OK too.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 1:19PM
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johnfromperrycopa(zone 6 scPA)

It sounds like the Greebspire might be a narrow upright shrub. Check the mature height. I would suggest azaleas, but I'm learning that they can be a maintenance nightmare...needing water, spraying for lacewings and a host of other maintenance issues. How about the Itea virginica..either 'Little Henry' which gets to be about 3 feet by 3 feet..or Henry Garnet..which is a little larger..if you want some yellow color, perhaps a Gold Thread Cypress would work...or the Aurea nana Hinoki Cypress...some boxwoods, like the Korean Boxwood (check mature height..slow growing) would be OK...always, always check mature height of similarly named plants... and space accordingly in the landscape and along the foundation...fill gaps temporarily with annuals or perennials until shrubs reach mature/larger size..

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 8:34AM
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lrobins(z5 CO)

The University of Connecticut Plant Database has an elaborate search feature that lets you look for plants with a combination of "wish list" characteristics. I tried the following: LARGE SHRUB + EVERGREEN + SHOWY FLOWERS + DEER-RESISTANT. The last is probably a good idea, as others have suggested. The database found four (drum roll, please). Well, really three, because one appears to be in the search results by mistake, Candytuft or Iberis sempervirens, a low-growing plant that does meet the other requirements.

Then we have:
Mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia
likely already growing near you (the original poster), very showy flowers

Oregon Grapeholly, Mahonia aquifolium
I think this is a very good possibility, with its holly-like foliage, showy yellow flower clusters in spring, and grape-like fruit; compact cultivars are available so it should be possible to select a good size

Japanese pieris, Pieris japonica
which I am less familiar with but looks nice also: "strings" of white bell-shaped flowers, pink for a few cultivars, compact cultivars are available

These are said to all be best for a partial shade environment with "moist, organic, acidic soil". If the location is too hot and dry for these flowering, broad-leaf evergreens, it might be best to use something tougher like juniper instead.

Finally, from the location description "west central West Virgina on the Ohio line" you are right next to the Ohio River, which suggests you might also try another regional forum as listed below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ohio Valley gardening

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 4:25PM
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deer definitly like Euonymus. The destroyed the 2 in my front yard.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 12:52AM
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johnfromperrycopa(zone 6 scPA)

I stopped planting/recommending Euonymous years ago. Most, if not all, are very susceptible to scale insects/disease. Once a plant gets it, it mostly likely can't be contained and spreads to others that might be planted nearby. Perhaps there is a new variety that is scale-resistant.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 6:29PM
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