Green shrubs

Asked May 5, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

Hi, can you recommend a few shrubs that would grow no more than 5or6 feet, that would remain green all or most of the year and would be good for birds and creatures in Forsyth county nc? Also, would you indicate best time to plant? Thank you.

North Carolina

1 Response

While many of the hollies come to mind, unfortunately they tend to grow a little larger than you want. What DOES come to mind as well, though, is nandina domestica - the native nandina, or "heavenly bamboo."

Unfortunately, some consider it invasive in some parts of North Carolina. You can learn more about this lovely plant here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/nandina-domestica/

It can grow a little taller than you'd like, but the berries are loved by birds, and they make superb indoor holiday decorations, too. To keep the plant looking its best, it's recommended that you prune back the oldest, tallest, woodiest stalks all the way to the ground yearly, leaving a good number of shorter branches in place. Do this year year, and the plant will remain full and lush all the way around. While it DOES throw off seedlings, it doesn't do so to a great degree, and those seedlings you find can either be transplanted to a desirable location or disposed of; that more or less controls the potential invasive qualities of the shrub, although the birds WILL spread seed in their droppings as they fly.

Around here, you can plant literally all year long, although plants probably have a better chance of getting a really good start if you avoid planting during the stressful heat of summer, waiting until fall or early spring instead. That said, I transplanted daylilies one year when the temperature was right at 100°, and they thrived . When conditions aren't optimal, just coddle the plants a little bit more than you would otherwise, and make SURE they get an inch or so of water each week, whether from rain or from a hose.

Since there ARE a lot of other shrubs out there, here's a list of landscape plants in the 4-8 foot range: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/shrubs-4-8-for-north-carolina-landscapes.pdf

You'll need to read through the list to see which are evergreen and which might have berries that would appeal to birds. "E" is for evergreen, and "D" is deciduous. Most of these plants are available at local nurseries.

Good luck to you , and thanks so much for considering wildlife in planning your landscape planting!