evergreen suggestion for East TN

krikitJune 30, 2010

Hello - I'm in East TN (zone 6b/7a) and am thinking of replanting at the front of my porch with some kind of nice low maintenance, long lived shrub. I'm a total blank and am a bit worn out from previous choices that didn't work out so well. This will be a southeast exposure in front of an old farm house with front porch that has a railing that tops out at about 5' from ground level. If a dense shrub, I'd like it to be at or under the 5'height, and at each corner I'm thinking a small tree with nice bark that wouldn't take forever to grow. I've used crape myrtle quite a lot already on the property so might like something different - or just another shrub and then set trees out further in the yard. The total length of the porch is 40' with steps in the center about 3' wide. I'm tired of several years of trial and error with a lot of error. Would like something I could get in there and not have to replant - getting too old for that. Would like evergreen, but actually doesn't just have to be - more important is that it look healthy during the growing season. Doesn't have to be showy - I'm past wanting the lush fragrant roses - I want something easy that will stand up to our heat and humidity. Plus, my soil is alkaline and I am surrounded by cedar trees - found out the hard way that rules out serviceberry.

Thanks in advance!


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hi fran

personally.. i find it near impossible to offer suggestions without a picture of the actual space... is that possible??


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:44AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I'd be interested in knowing what all you've tried thus far and why you think it failed.

Is it full sun? Are you willing to water?

How about for along the porch: Otto Luyken cherry laurel? or perhaps 'Soft Touch' Japanese hollies.

Around here, some of the more attractive corner evergreen shrubs/trees that we commonly see are:

1) Hinoki (or False) Cypress
2) Smaller conical hollies such as Oakleaf, Blue Maid, or Spartan, upright Japanese hollies.
3) Arborvitae -- many forms available. Look for something conical that doesn't get huge.
4) Skip laurel
5) Chindo viburnum (gorgeous)
6) Upright lorapetalums (evergreen reddish foliage).

Anyway, that's a start. Look them up and see if they will work in your region.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:24PM
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I'm in southwestern KY and trying a pair of dwarf golden Hinoki false cypress ('verdoni' was part of the name); I believe they get 3 to 5 feet tall, are really slow growing, and while not cheap didn't devastate the bank account, either. Found them an a local nursery.

Are you wanting a row of the same thing, or just a couple of specimen plants, or what?

If a dense evergreen under 5' tall is your fancy, some of the Arborvitae like Golden Globe might be worth a look. I'm not as familiar with the yews. In a sunny location some of the mugo pines that stay smaller can be neat; I'm trying 2 'Enci' mugos in a shrub row in the backyard. The Colorado Spruce shrub forum, 'Glauca globosa' is a neat looking plant - not sure how it'd do in your spot.


P.S.: I'm not used to working with alkaline soil, so nothing I offered factors that in.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 6:55PM
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