En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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.

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Strong groundcover for Southern California
March 28, 2012 - Need a strong ground cover. Hard time getting anything to grow. Full sun. Prefer some color. Low upkeep. The soil probably isn't great. It is a small hill within a planter.
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow between concrete pavers on the patio in Rock Hill, SC..
December 31, 2014 - I have a patio of concrete pavers, about 2 feet by 2 feet each. It gets very little sun. No morning sun at all. The zoysia grass we have between the pavers now does not grow well at all. Do you ha...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for slippery slope
May 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a ground cover for a slippery slope. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
view the full question and answer

Low groundcovers for MA
June 29, 2011 - We are developing ground mounted solar installations in southeastern MA. We are seeking advice for native groundcover species for our various regions (coastal meadows, etc). Species like bearberry and...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center