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?


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

Thursday - June 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Vines
Title: Parthenocissus quinquefolia as replacement for Asiatic jasmine
Answered by: Joe Marcus


The deer have stripped the Asiatic jasmine groundcover under my clusters of live oak trees in Southwest Austin. This year the bare areas of ground are covered in Virginia creeper seedlings. I have been pulling them out but am wondering if the creeper could be used for a natural ground cover in place of the jasmine, as the deer do not seem to bother it. Would the creeper get too tall, or could it be trimmed to keep it low (no more than 6-8 inches tall)? I love it as a vine but have not seen it used as a ground cover.


Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) will make a nice groundcover beneath your live oak tree, but not without some maintenance. Virginia creeper always wants to climb and will seize every opportunity to do so. You will need to regularly cut back stems that begin to run up your trees, walls or over shrubs. Of course, if you wish it to climb on some structure in your garden, it will happily oblige. Other than that, Virginia creeper will stay close to the ground without any pruning. It does not pile stem upon stem and form a thick mat like Asian jasmine.


More Groundcovers Questions

Non-invasive sun ground cover for Atlanta GA
June 29, 2011 - I would like to find a non-invasive ground cover for zone 7 (Atlanta, GA) in full sun. I had a bed of ivy with daylilies on a slight slope. I have pulled up the ivy but want something that is not as i...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for East Texas
May 14, 2012 - We live in east Texas, right on the beginning of the piney words, the soil is a little sandy. We have taken up a wooden walkway but can't get anything to grow there. Could the soil be dead from year ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover in Louisiana
November 17, 2009 - I need a suggestion for an evergreen groundcover plant that can tolerate moist soil. I want something that is low maintenance to go around a pergola in my backyard that gets mostly full sun.
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center