Tricky area--help me pick foundation shrubs?

srburkMarch 6, 2012

This is a 25 foot long flower bed in front of my house, up next to the concrete porch in front of it, on the drip line from my roof, northern exposure. There used to be a giant Arizona ash in my front yard, and I had hydrangeas and hostas there, with a bump out of polka dot plant and sometimes impatiens by the front door. When the tree was removed (rotten and in danger of taking my house out), the hydrangeas could not take the heat or the sun and were toasty crisp by the end of May. So I took them out. One end of the bed gets an hour or two of morning sun--the other end gets an hour or two of afternoon sun. There is an overhang from the porch area, but it's really not deep shade. Partial shade, I'd guess?

Anyway...I need some shrubbery in there--I don't want to put full sun plants as I'm sure they won't get enough light to be happy. What else can I choose that won't mind the runoff from the roof too badly? The only thing I can see at the big box store is a dwarf Stokes holly. I don't want anything that is going to get huge--about four feet or so is my limit. If you have any ideas, I'd appreciate it greatly.

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Under 2 hours of sun is generally considered "shade", although if it's the hot afternoon sun, then a "part-shade" plant might do okay. Here's a few ideas with Texas native/adapted plants. Might not find many at a big box hardware store, but a local nursery probably would.

Cedar or Majestic Sage
Texas Dwarf Palmetto
Dwarf wax myrtle
American Beautyberry
Turk's Cap
Blue Mistflower

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I'd like to add Salvia greggii as a possibility.
I've had it in full sun, part sun and dappled shade.
It likes full sun the best. In less sun it is smaller and blooms less.
Its pretty much ever green in North Texas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Salvia greggii

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 11:01AM
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I kind of figured it would be's just not enough shade without the tree for the hydrangeas to make it in this climate. Thanks for the suggestions...I'll go look those up. I think my neighbor has a turk's cap out in front of her house in more or less the same situation, except hers gets more sun than the middle of my bed does....I usually adjust whatever goes on the end next to the front door to whatever can tolerate the afternoon sun for a little bit. Oddly, the impatiens and polka dots never minded it, so they may return in some fashion.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 11:05AM
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ExoticRGVNativesTy(10a TX)

Turk's Cap Mallow and Dwarf Sabal would be my first choices, as they are very tolerant of the intermittently wet, shady conditions in your bed. Scarlet Sage and Pigeonberry are smaller plants that would also work well.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:40PM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

If you want something that is more like a shrub than perennial you can look at Cleyera - Jade Tiara is the compact, shorter version. I've had it on the north side of my house (the front, like you) for about 8 years, and it is not yet 4 feet tall - closer to 3). I shape them a little every late winter, but it is minimal pruning. It's a really nice low maintenance shrub. I also have Carissa Holly, and although they have yet to get 4 feet tall, they are about 4 feet wide - so give them plenty of space in between if you use them. They require almost no pruning as long as they have plenty of sideways space - they grow in a very nice shape all by themselves.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 2:22PM
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It would take many years for Stokes Dwarf Yaupon Holly to reach 4 ft., and it can easily be maintained at half that forever. You might also take a look at Gulfstream Nandina, which gets about waist high. I suspect either would require less water than Cleyera.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 6:27PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

Nandina, salvia greggii, Turk's Cap, pigeonberry all sound good to me. You might try an althea/Rose of Sharon as a center plant. It'll get taller than 4', eventually, but I don't remember the ones we had in San Antonio getting much more than 5' and they were in part shade. I'm thinking it would make a nice focal point during the summer. I'd go with a mixture of plants instead of a hedge of one as it'll add more variety and interest and will keep you from having to replace everything if one plant dies out. Plus, all of the plants I listed can tolerate wet roots for a short time and drought conditions as well. I have all of them in my yard and everything around me drains into my yard and out into the street, so I have wet heavy clay soil periodically AND I don't water the yard very frequently, but they all survived last summer.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:09PM
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maden_theshade(8 - Austin)

My front porch is set up exactly the same. We have dwarf yaupon holly there. They stay green all year and grow really slow. We've been in this house three years and I've never had to trim more than a couple of inches off them in a year. They have stayed about 36" tall.

In front of them, I have some other stuff for color. Columbine, caladiums, cyclamens, pansies, daffodils, rain lilies, ox-blood lily, etc. Just depends on the spot and how much sun it can get right there.

Another evergreen I'm liking right now is Fringe Bush. But that gets really tall. My neighbor has one and it is just under the eaves of her house. Beautiful pink blooms on it right now! It likes the partial shade.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 11:56PM
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I just put Indian Hawthorne in the front flowerbed of my north facing house along with olpheopolgan (sp), wanted to keep it simple, so don't really know how it will do in the long run... but, it's starting to grow and bloom.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 5:28AM
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I had the same situation, I needed a plant that could take the roof runoff. I planted an iris looking plant, that I bought at Lowes. I can't remember what color it bloomed, I bought it mainly for texture. I like airy plants. It got so large that Albert dug it up for me, maybe he can tell you more about the plant. Roselee took a picture of it and put it the photo gallery in this forum on 5-23-11( honeybunnys garden). I looked it up and its on the 3rd page. Its the 2nd picture down, next to the white indian feather( gaura). It was the only plant that could take the runoff, everything else rotted. I tried sky flower, yellow bells, and hibiscus they rotted. It fianlly got so large, it was blocking my sprinkler from watering the yard, that is why I gave it to Albert, who is the perfect neighbor. Indian feathers also come in pink, they bloom all year long. I cut them back in November, they are already 6 inches tall. They get dapple sun, and are planted on the North side of the house. Barbra

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:06AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Honeybunny Barbra, I went to the gallery and looked up the thread with pictures of your Rockport garden. I'm wondering if the plant is bicolor iris. What do you think Albert?

Here is a link that might be useful: Second picture down behind the gaura ....

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:41AM
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I know its some type of Iris. I cannot remember for the life of me what color it was. I hope it has bloomed for Albert.
Roslee you need to go to the Lowes at Callaghan, they had 7 carts of marked down plants 75% or more. Gary is going to kill me. I saw some beautiful plants that would look great in your backyard. Barbra

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 2:27PM
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