En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 10, 2014

From: Walnut Creek CA, CA
Region: California
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Can Gulf Muhly grow in California from Walnut Creek CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Walnut Creek, California, and recently learned about Muhlenbergia capillaris. It's a beautiful grass. Would this native do well here?

ANSWER:

There is good news and bad news - first the bad news:According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly) is not shown on this USDA Plant Profile Map as being native to any state closer to California than East Texas. As you may know, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, recommends the use of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which that plant is to be grown because of plant needs for climate, water and soils. So, it would be almost impossible for us to say if it would do well there.

However, Californians seem to be game at trying just about any plant, so if you are also game, we suggest you first follow this plant link Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly) to our webpage on the plant and compare your climate and growing conditions with those listed on that page, especially the Growing Conditions:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam
Conditions Comments: In the fall, gulf muhly creates a stunning pink to lavender floral display. It functions well in meadow gardens and as a general garden plant."

Then, read this article from the  Master Gardeners of Marin Garden CA on  Muhlenbergia in California. Remember, we can make no guarantees, nor do we have information on whether it might be invasive in California, so you need to check on that.

 

From the Image Gallery


Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants to grow in shady sand in Florida
March 31, 2013 - We live in central Florida (directly between Orlando and Tampa). Our yard is mostly sand for soil and difficult parts in shade almost all day from large trees. What ground cover (grass) and hedges can...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn for townhouse in Austin
October 06, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in central Austin and on November 1st I will be moving into a townhome with a small yard of around 500 square feet. The yard has been neglected and currently looks to ...
view the full question and answer

Established Habiturf in the DFW area from Allen TX
May 15, 2012 - Where can I see an established Habiturf in the DFW area? There are two sites that are obviously DFW (White Rock Lake and Round Rock) mentioned in Ask Mr Smartyplants, but no addresses. If no sites ar...
view the full question and answer

Native, full-sun, 4-in. evergreen grasses for Leander TX
November 07, 2011 - Help! I need a native Texas evergreen sedge/grass/ground cover for full-sun/hot/dry area between sidewalk and street. The plants will need to be kept about 4" high, if growth is higher it must be mow...
view the full question and answer

Native grass for caliche soil in Austin
February 06, 2010 - I am interested in using native grasses in part of my lawn per the recent article on these from the Wildflower Center. The problem is I live W. of Austin where there is very little top soil and calic...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center