Best plants for entry way

newbiegardener8April 16, 2014


I am looking to find the best plant for the entry way to my house in the DFW area. I need something tall to go on either side of my door. I have tried researching so many plants but nothing seems to be exactly right.

I want something that is going to be around 6ft tall and 2-3 ft wide. I don't mind trimming occasionally to keep the plant at this level but I don't want a high maintenance plant. It has to be an evergreen that can withstand partial shade because I have two large trees in the font yard.

I thought I found my plant with a boxwood but then I found out they smell in the summer?! I saw some really amazing ones trimmed like spiral trees at a garden center near me. Are there any types of boxwoods that don't smell?

I have thought about spruce type spirals but they seem to have disease problems in DFW. I also like the shape and width of the Italian cypress trees but they grow way too tall for my one story house. There was a type of holly that was suggested to me but I really don't like the looks of those. I have looked into tall nandinas but the pictures I have seen of them don't make them look very attractive and they might be too wide for the space I am looking to fill

Is there any plant that would be a good fit for me?

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I've never detected any offensive odor in my boxwoods, even when trimming them. Others claim they reek of cat pizzle. There are quite a few different varieties, some apparently more odorless than others. You can Google "boxwood odor" for the particulars. As an alternative, you might take a look at Spring Bouquet Viburnum. It would require more attention to shaping than boxwood, but could easily be maintained at 6'. When it doesn't get caught by a late frost, it can be quite spectacular in early spring, with clusters of fragrant, snow white blooms. It will also draw more compliments than boxwood, because it is more of a novelty. It would also enjoy your shade. Still, If you want something you can just plant and forget about, it would be hard to beat boxwood.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Lynn Marie

Can boxwoods take full afternoon heat? Because I have the exact same need and have killed several sky pencil hollies that I insist on planting there. (Newbie, if your site is morning sun, they are the size you need.)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:06PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

We have a 6 ft little leaf boxwood (buxus microphylla) hedge that I pass by very closely nearly every day and never recall any unpleasant odors. Suspect the trick may be to stick with b. microphylla rather than b. sempervirens (common boxwood) or b. sempervirens/microphylla hybrids if concerned about the smell.

Don't know if those "spiral tree" topiaries you mentioned would need the high maintenance you're hoping to avoid, but they do require a different level of discipline or hired skill. Might be worth checking on the GW topiary forum about the effort to maintain if considering them. Nice thing about boxwood is that they are a very forgiving shrub, so if you change your mind, they can be rehabbed from almost any shape into almost any other..... given enough time.

lynnmariep86, Our b. microphylla can take full day sun against a hot aggregate concrete drive with no problems on only the water it gets from rain and once or twice weekly deep lawn waterings. Seems to work fine in sun or shade as the hedge continues to look very uniform among the sunny and shady sections. Only "problem" we've seen is minor freeze burn ("brown stains") on the outer leaves some years (like 2014), which usually disappear with the spring growth spurt.

Also, 'Scarlet's Peak' is a relatively new berried yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) alternative to 'Sky Pencil' that can survive our heat and apparently can be maintained to only 6 ft (though will go to 20). Don't know how nice it would look close up at an entryway, but is a tough native fastigiate for where durability has been a problem.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:30PM
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