Litttle Gem or Nellie Stevens

sbcatcher1(8NWFL)February 26, 2005

I live in Panama City Beach, Fla. I have to plant a screen between a shed & a fence. I only have 5 ft between the shed & the fence on the 12 ft side. I have to plant them at least 6.5 ft in height from the start per the HOA. I think it is between the Nellie Stevens Holly and the Little Gem Magnolia. I had considered a Ligustrium but is it too wide? I am looking for hardy with little main. the shed is 8X12 & I have to screen 2 sides, should I plant 3 or 5? Should I mix them up? Thanks I am new to this area & don't want to make an expensive mistake.

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Here's a link for the estimated size of full grown little gem. I think it's much larger than you are looking for...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 5:49PM
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Thanks the problem I am having with both of the plants are that each site I look at has a large difference in the mature ht. I think the Holly would be easier to keep pruned to about 12 ft.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 9:18PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

There is a type of holly that grows narrow and conical, actually there are several types. "Sky Pencil" is one cultivar. You can keep it trimmed, and it just takes up 1 foot of space!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 10:27PM
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sandyhill(z-8a NC USA)

'Little Gem' will get too big, and Magnolias can be messy.

Holly comes in many sizes and forms. There are a number that could work, and many other fine evergreen shrubs as well. I like to mix them up.

What kind of soil is there? Sandy or clay, wet or dry? How much sun does your planting site get? Give us a bit more to go on & we'll help you sort it out.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 9:19AM
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The soil is sandy with Builders sand on top, the house is just 1 year old. We are 1 mile from the Gulf of Mexico. Since the trees will be between the shed & the fence, they will not get a lot of sun, they will be planted on the East & North sides of the shed. The North side will just have 15 ft between the shed & the fence. The East side will have 15 ft so it will get sun, I am thinking of a Palm there but I am unsure as you can tell. I have ruled out the Magnolia based on the above posts.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 8:15PM
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sandyhill(z-8a NC USA)

So you have part sun / part shade, but open to the sky - that's good - sandy soil - pretty easy to work with.

There are hundreds of plants that could fit the bill, holly alone comes in many forms. I like to mix evergreens for an informal hedge. It is nice to have color contrasts & different flowers &/or fruit IMHO.

Given your site I am tempted to say plant camellias and michelias. They are not the most forgiving plants, but the payoff is fantastic - lush evergreens with flowers that will blow your mind. Michelias are kin to magnolias, but most are more compact & smell great.

Upright holly is about as easy as it gets, and you can mix leaf color, size, & shape, even berries - most are red, but some are yellow or black. Osmanthus - false holly & tea olive - are all cool. Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' - a bright variegated version is a standout.

Speaking of variegated, Aucuba japonica is a good one for shade areas. Mahonia bealei also likes shade, and has a unique look.

Ternstroemia gymnanthera - Cleyera is a nice well-behaved evergreen, new leaves are a deep glossy red, then turn dark green.

You should have Illicium parviflorum - Anise shrub.

Chindo Viburnum - magic.

Evergreen Azaleas - just pick a color.

Podocarpus macrophyllus - another unique, upright evergreen.

Pittosporum tobira - variegated or solid green, common, but they smell great & no fuss.

These are just some ideas for a starting point. You could add some smaller plants under / between these, mix in some other flowering shrubs or deciduous trees for contrast, groundcovers, flower beds in front, etc, etc...

It may take a while to find what you want & get it together, but it is SO worth it when it clicks.

Please don't rush out and plant some ho-hum Home Depot junk. Hold out for interesting, quality plants & you'll be glad in the long run. Think of something new in bloom each week, birds in the bushes, etc. Way better than a straight bland hedge.

Just my 2 ¢

Oh, lastly, you may want a soil test before you plant anything. One of the harshest mistakes is killing expensive plants in poor soil that could have been fixed with a few bags of something, or using the wrong plants for a site. My guess is your lot is fine, but better to make sure.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 1:53AM
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WannaBGardener(8b & 4a)

After reading all the good suggestions, one thought comes to my mind. Six and a half Feet at the start??? One thing for sure it's gonna cost you an arm and a leg. Many of the plants suggested would be full grown at 6 1/2 feet, very hard to come by, and I have found that mature shrubs don't transplant well. We have to deal with HOA also and they are a pain in the Big Toe. I think I have seen some evergreen (some sort of juniper or cyprus) that may fit your problem

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 9:04AM
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sandyhill(z-8a NC USA)

Junipers are very easy, cheap, and come in most any size, shape, and color you could want - almost perfect, but they like lots of sun.

What's HOA? Sounds nasty.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 4:58PM
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HOA is Home Owners Association. I found some Nelly Stevens that are 8ft, the nursery will guarantee them for a year. I will not see that side of the shed, only the top, for the other side that is viewable I think I am going to plant a Pindo Palm. I went & looked at them today & for about $200 I can get one that has fronds about 7 ft. I am looking forward to getting a fence & landscaping the majority of the area. I transplanted 3 Osmanthus (Tea Olive) & all three are doing great, I put them near windows.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 6:34PM
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sandyhill(z-8a NC USA)

Sounds like a nice mix.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 9:43AM
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WannaBGardener(8b & 4a)

I think you will be happy with the Tea Olives they bloom off and on all year, and smell sooooo nice. The Nellie Stevens should be a good choice. If a plant lives for the one year, they should be well established by then and no problem. Happy gardening.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 9:22AM
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