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

Low-growing grass for steep hill in Austin
February 10, 2010 - I'm looking for a low-growing grass for a steep hill in my backyard. My issues are it can't be mowed because the hill is too steep, it can't be trimmed with a weed eater because it's a very large...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover Under Maple Tree in Ottawa That Takes Foot Traffic
April 19, 2013 - Hi, I am looking for a groundcover to put under a large maple tree that will be alright for kids to run about on and will be happy in the Ottawa climate. Your other answers to similar questions have b...
view the full question and answer

Grasses to stabilize creek bed in Bastrop County, Texas
May 06, 2011 - Hello, we have property in Bastrop county, the soil is sandy loam with clay underneath. We need to stabilize a creek bed, can you suggest any particular grasses (seed) for this? Know it's not the be...
view the full question and answer

Arguments for planting native grasses in College Station TX
April 09, 2010 - I hear big ads about putting zoysia grass on my urban lawn but I would rather plant native grass, like Texas Bluegrass (for shady areas) and Blue Grama and Buffalograss grasses. What arguments can I g...
view the full question and answer

Planting from pots in summer in Austin
July 01, 2009 - It's the last week in June and temperatures are going to be at 100 or more all week. I've some plants that I'm wondering about transplanting to an exposed site in this heat: muhlenbergeria lindheim...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center