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

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


Straggler daisy
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 Drought Tolerant Questions

Trees and shrubs for adobe soil in Penngrove CA
June 19, 2010 - Hi, I'd like to find a list of trees that are native, drought tolerant and suitable to the adobe soil in Penngrove. We will be landscaping a bare .5 acre parcel starting later this fall. Another fea...
view the full question and answer

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine with native grass in Austin
February 24, 2012 - We are renting a house our Sister-in-law owns- the St Augustine is in tough shape, drought and lack of care over the years. Could we plant a native grass or do we have to pull up the remaining St. Aug...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
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