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 - July 15, 2014

From: Loudon, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native Plants for a Steep Slope in TN
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Knoxville, TN and have a very steep slope in our backyard. There is a lot of water erosion causing our grass to be covered with red dirt. I would love to try to plant something on this bank to keep it from eroding. It would be wonderful to have nice grass in our backyard. I'm not sure it is even possible, but would take any advice you could give me on any native plants, shrubs or trees that could help.

ANSWER:

There's hope for you to have a great lawn in your backyard and a slope full of native wildlfowers too. The first place to go to find a list of potential slope plants for your backyard is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have put together an extensive database of plants and their characteristics for you to review.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: TN, Habit – Herb (for herbaceous), Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun, Soil Moisture – Dry (because of the steep slope), and Size – 0-6 feet. This search criteria will give you many native plants to consider, but not all of them are appropriate for a slope.

Some potential herbaceous slope plants include:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

Some potential shrubs for the slope are:

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plantings for beneath a red oak in Lubbock TX
February 23, 2012 - What would you recommend to plant in a two tiered raised bed facing west, totally blocked from the east, thus receiving only the afternoon sun? A 21 year old red oak sits in the middle of the upper ra...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant Groundcover for Texas
July 13, 2016 - I live in Atascosa county in Pleasanton Texas, I have an abundance of Live Oak and Ash trees shading my property and need a groundcover for my backyard which is nothing but sand and where I have dogs ...
view the full question and answer

Dying blackeyed Susans in new garden in Pennsylvania
August 26, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants! I have recently planted black eyed susans in a newly dug garden along with some cone flowers. The other flowers are doing fine but the black eyed susans have all dried up and are...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pavilion over fountain in Washington State
December 26, 2008 - I have a tall fountain in a 7 foot square which is surrounded by pavers. Inside the 7' square there is about a 2' mulched soil bed around the center fountain and an iron type pavilion that goes up h...
view the full question and answer

Getting Tradescantia (spiderwort) to stand up straight in Indiana
April 10, 2009 - Is there a way to keep Tradescantia plants on a thicker base so as not to fall over? Mine are spreading like wild fire, but most fall over and look like weeds.
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