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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - February 25, 2007

From: Snyder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Low maintenance, attractive ground cover for yard in Snyder, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in West Texas, I just bought a couple of lots that have had nothing grown on them in about 45 years, except what looks like small clumps of weed /grass, not sure. I would like to have my front yard in some kind of evergreen, low growing, brightly flowered, low water, low maintenance ground cover that will thrive in full sun. There will be no traffic or animals etc. Do you have any suggestions for this area. I would love for folks driving by to look twice, (near an interstate)! Thanks.

ANSWER:

That's a pretty big order—evergreen, low-growing, brightly flowered, low water, low maintenance! Well, you aren't going to get all those features in one plant, but we can give you some ideas for combinations. Here is one plant Louisiana Sagewort or Prairie Sage (Artemesia ludoviciana) that will remain evergreen if mowed in the fall (according to Sally Wasowski and Andy Wasowski, Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region By Region), plus it grows in any soil in full sun and with little water. it doesn't, however, have spectacular flowers

The following plants are "almost evergreen" depending on the severity of the winter frosts and they do meet your other criteria fairly well.
Yellow Zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora)
Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)
Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
Sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri)
Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea)
Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

You also might consider using Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides, synonym=Buchloe dactyloides) in some areas. Although buffalo grass is not evergreen, it is low maintenance, loves the sun and requires little water. You can read more about buffalo grass from Texas A&M University.

 

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