Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Groundcovers for Kingsland TX
October 11, 2012 - I am looking for a list of native ground covers and grasses(not lawn grass).
view the full question and answer

Dog wallowing in damp area in garden from Great Bend KS
March 20, 2013 - I Have a wet area in my back yard that is close to my house. and off my patio there is a water hydrant,gas meter, electrical for my hot tub, my sprinkler valves and pump all there. My dog digs throug...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover beneath a maple
January 24, 2009 - I am looking for something to spread out in the shade of a maple tree. I have tried lily of the valley, ferns, pachysandra, ivy, hosta, euonymus.. nothing spreads out.
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Oregon gravel path
August 23, 2013 - I'm looking for a native ground cover to grow in the gravel between flagstones in a path in my backyard. The gravel is 1/4-10 so it is very loose. The path gets midday sun but is shaded by the house ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Lighthouse Point FL
April 13, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I am looking for mowable ground cover for part of my back yard. Due to a Mahogany tree, a hammock, surrounding foliage and a fence, there is alot of shade in the area, alon...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.