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

Wednesday - June 20, 2007

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Sedges and ornamentals for shade in Bastrop County
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I bought a home in Elgin, TX that was owned by an elderly woman. Most of the lawn is shaded by elm or pecan trees. In the sunny areas, i got native wildflowers to grow like lantana and coneflower, but the lawn is mostly horse herb, carpet grass, and mixed tall prairie grasses. What else can I plant in the shade that are native flowers? Could the grasses be replaced by cedar or Texas sedge in the sandy soil of Bastrop County? Would the sedge out compete the horse herb?


There are three sedges that should do well in your area:

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

The sedges are usually a little slow to get established, but Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy or horse herb) should not out-compete them. To manage the grasses that are already there, you are going to have to dig them out and keep removing them as they reappear to keep them from taking over.

Here are a few other plants that do well in shade or part shade that are native to Bastrop County.

Ornamental grasses:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)


Geum canadense (white avens)

Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia)

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

Symphyotrichum patens var. patens (late purple aster)

Calylophus berlandieri (Berlandier's sundrops)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Carex texensis

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Geum canadense

Ruellia nudiflora

Salvia lyrata

Symphyotrichum patens var. patens

Calylophus berlandieri

Viola sororia

Phyla nodiflora

Lobelia cardinalis



More Shade Tolerant Questions

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

Vines for a shady porch in Oregon
February 22, 2010 - My husband and I just bought our first home this fall in St. Johns, Portland. We would like to grow a vine on our front porch, but it is in full shade. It faces north east. We planted some jasmine vin...
view the full question and answer

Full Shade Plants for Muncy PA
April 10, 2014 - I need a suggestion for almost full shade plants for central Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and other plants for shady area in Austin
March 22, 2010 - I am looking for what kind of shrubs, plants that I can plant under my very shady oak trees in South Austin. Soil is good, I want to have some lushness under my trees instead of dirt, I have a small a...
view the full question and answer

Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
April 17, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center