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

Tuesday - May 27, 2014

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Groundcovers for North Central Texas
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a very large area that is in Palo Pinto County, Texas. We tried to plant grass but it never established. I'm looking for a ground cover that does well in shade (lots of oak tees) and is semi drought resistant. The soil is not the greatest, the red dirt which is common in Texas. I'm also looking for something with low pile for snake purposes. Any suggestions? I saw some of your recommendations but I'm not sure they can handle the heat and are low to the ground

ANSWER:

   Looks like you’re ahead of me!   This Mr Smarty Plants, as a matter of practice, check out the questions/answers that came before; and most of the time there is plenty of advice there already.  Is it these that you saw?

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth
[The recommended are all pretty much flowers and a bit tall]

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas 

Non-toxic Groundcover for North-Central Texas 

Shrubs, groundcovers, and grasses for shade in North Central Texas 

Groundcover and Butterfly attractants for LaRue Texas

 

Keeping it real low to dissuade the snakes, consider these groundcovers and low flowers:

Pure groundcovers:  Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy), Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit), Allium canadense (Meadow garlic), Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge), Dichondra argentea (Silver ponyfoot)

Flowers:  Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena), Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet), Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba (Poppy mallow), Rivina humilis (Pigeonberry)

As natives, these should all be able to handle the heat by itself.  The combination of heat and drought is pretty rough on everything, so its a bit of a toss-up whether they survive. Our frogfruit dies back in the winter and heat/drought of summer  but happily comes right back again.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Meadow garlic
Allium canadense

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Silver ponyfoot
Dichondra argentea

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Missouri violet
Viola missouriensis

Poppy mallow
Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba

Pigeonberry
Rivina humilis

More Groundcovers Questions

Low groundcover for Possum Kingdom
March 02, 2011 - I am seeking a very low ground cover (advised so snakes and rats won't take cover), that is drought resistant and grows on a rocky steep incline to the lake in full afternoon/evening sun at Possum ...
view the full question and answer

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Starting over on a lawn in Heath TX
April 02, 2013 - Unless one counts dichondra as grass I have more weeds than grass in my yard.I have hand pulled the weeds and used an organic program without success. The soil is a hard clay typical of North Texas. I...
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

Native moss to fill in between flagstones
April 21, 2008 - I live in Houston and have a long, narrow flagstone path that runs along the east side of the house. I am looking for a native moss that can fill in between the flagstones and will tolerate morning su...
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