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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


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


   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

Rivina humilis

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Range and adaptability of evening primrose from Tucson AZ
August 28, 2009 - What is the natural range of the evening primrose? What adaptations does it have to live in the arid Southwest?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for Kentucky grass in Colorado
July 02, 2012 - What kind of grass to replace "Kentucky grass"? It uses too much water. Need drought tolerant grass for the Rifle, Colorado area ("zip code is 81650"). Water bill is way too high, pushing over $10...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass with little need for mowing for Hill Country of Texas
November 17, 2011 - What grass would you recommend for the hill country of Texas that is drought tolerant and does not need frequent mowing?
view the full question and answer

Identifying Rhus lanceolata in Texas
April 28, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I think I've identified two small trees, 4 to 5 feet high at the back fence line and two in the front yard flower beds as prairie flameleaf sumac (or at least some kind of s...
view the full question and answer

Watering needs for a new landscape
October 11, 2008 - How much and how frequently are you supposed to water after implementing a new landscape? For example, perennials and succulents that are drought tolerant.
view the full question and answer

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