Trying to decide on a good shrub

cjra(TX)May 28, 2012

I want to plant shrubs along our ugly chain link fence. I want something that will grow 4-5ft tall easily, native and/or drought tolerant. we're in San Antonio (near downtown).

I like the nandina, but the Texas Extension's guide to native plants says to only get the dwarf one, which appears to be only a couple of feet tall. I think I've seen these around though and they're quite tall.

Any suggestions? I'd like something colorful, which is what attracted me to the nandina, but evergreen and height is most important.


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Lynn Marie

There are new varieties of red tip photinias that don't get diseased as easily, but they are a bit pricier than the regular ones. You may not have any issue with the diseases in your area. Also, wax leafed ligustrums would do, but not as colorful. Either are super easy.

Have you thought of vines? If it is a tall chain link fence, vines would be nice too.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:24AM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

Ligustrum is pretty invasive, I'd be wary of planting it. I don't know that the red tip photinia would be happy near downtown San Antonio without a lot of supplemental water. I have old ones that survived last year's drought OK, but they're old and established AND get half of their water from my neighbors that water as often as possible.

Dwarf Texas Sage/Cenizo would be an option. They grow to height pretty quickly but then stay about 4' tall. They'd also do just fine with your water restrictions.

If you're careful to pick the right one, a vine could work. There are some that should be evergreen.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:57AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

You might want to plant a variety of shrubs to give a tapestry effect. Another one to consider is Winter honeysuckle. Or for a very quick fix you could attach plastic lattice to the fence like we did. We used white, but it comes in beige and green also.

Here is a link that might be useful: What we did with the chainlink fence ...

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:04AM
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ExoticRGVNativesTy(10a TX)

Barbados Cherry is another good option. Ours received no supplemental water during last year's drought and still looked great.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Ann_in_Houston(z9 Houston)

My sil had her very tall chain link fence covered in no time with asiatic jasmine. It's also fragrant, of course, but I'm not sure how much she watered it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 12:51PM
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I've planted vines along another stretch with mixed results. Some have grown ok, others didn't survive the last freeze/drought cycle, none, except the invasive English ivy, have really covered the fence.

It's a large side yard (double lot) which is completely visible from the street. I want to make it somewhat private (not so much that I'd want a 6ft privacy fence, but something so it's not so open). In time, we'll remove the chain link and put in another fence, but that's a few years off, which is why I was thinking shrubs - I like vegetation.... I like the look of the lattice, but I think that falls under "fencing" and would require historic approval which I don't want to deal with at the moment. Shrubs don't, as long as they don't obstruct traffic line of vision.

I love the look of photonias, but if they require lots of water,t hen that's out. Also explains why they're not in my book about native/adapted plants for So Central Texas... I know I have to water to get them established, but we store rain water and use washing machine water as much as possible. For the long run, definitely want something drought tolerant.

I definitely like the idea of a variety of shrubs. I've done that with plantings elsewhere. I prefer it to not be uniform, but at the same time, I want it fairly thick and full for the privacy element.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Definitely like the Barbados Cherry. I'll look into them more and see what I can find locally.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:54PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I love Barbados cherry and have several, but be aware that it freezes to ground in San Antonio some winters and is deciduous in those winters when it doesn't.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:18PM
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I got some of the most beautiful shrubs from Jim, last year at the Oct swap. Problem is I do not have the names. When I got home the rain had made the names run. I remembered you said to plant in full sun, they are all flowering shrubs. The blooms are my favorite colors, pink lavander, and purple. I would also love to know the name of that beautiful lavander flowering vine you gave me. Gosh, Jim made my yard beautiful. Barbra

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 7:21PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

For a colorful, evergreen, drought tolerant shrub I'm really high on Wooly bee brush. They often have it at the San Antonio Botanical Garden plant sale which is coming up on Sat. June 16.

It would be great in a mixed hedge. It is sort of gangly in forum, has rough textured foliage, about 6 or more ft. tall and is ALWAYS in bloom with graceful delicate purple flowers. Here's a picture of its flowers ...

Texas mountain laurel would be a suggestion also in a mixed hedge. I've found it's not all that slow growing when planted in full sun and alkaline soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wooly bee brush ...

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 7:50PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

I have used elaeagnus for privacy, it is silvery and evergreen. You can use other plants with it for color or there is a variegated variety.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I'm fairly certain Asiatic jasmine won't "cover a tall fence in no time". It is a ground cover, and I've never detected a scent from.

However, Confederate Jasmine, AKA Star Jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides will cover a trellis or chain link fence quickly. It does have a nice scent when it blooms, which up here in DFW area is May/June -ish.
I don't think either needs a whole lot of water once established.

Neither are a shrub which the OP is looking for.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Thanks all!

Since I was near Rainbow Gardens today (which doesn't happen often) and was without kids in my car, and want to get these planted sooner rather than later, I went in.

Was about to get the Sandankwa Viburnum, but in the end decided on 2 each of Glossy Abelia (Abelia grandiflora) and Ebbingei Elaeagnus. Both were a little cheaper than the Viburnum, and according to my guides require less water. So, will get them in the ground tomorrow and see how it goes. The area has funky sun - it faces South/SouthWest. Part is under a huge shady cedar elm, but part is open in full sun, esp. late afternoon. Once I get these going and see how they do, I may put some lower plantings in with more color.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:42PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I would have suggested the elaeagnus but they can get rather large if you don't keep them trimmed. I love mine and the fragrance twice a year is well worth it. In my opinion, you made a wise choice.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:17PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a(7b8a)

Below I have linked Texas Aggie's native shrubs. It is a truly helpful site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Native Shrubs

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:17PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Those are good choices for your location.

I never water my elaeagnus, but they are well established. Both the elaeagnus and abelia go through direct sun and full shade phases throughout the day without a problem.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 10:23AM
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"Shoal Creek" Vitex makes a great tree with purple flowers.
It can be used more as a specimen than a border.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 8:13AM
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