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
1 rating

Wednesday - October 10, 2007

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Identification of plant, possibly Justicia pilosella, for groundcover
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm newly relocated to Texas and find I have a yard with three major types of green growing. Close to the house (and mostly shaded) is St. Augustine. Furthest out front, (unshaded) is the Bermudagrass & Buffalograss, but in the middle, (mixed levels of shade) I have an apparently wild ground cover. Part of it, I believe, is horse herb, with tiny yellow flowers. But growing with it is a similar leafed, but lavender colored flower ground cover. The flower is asymmetrical with three petals on one side and one apposing petal, with a small white and purple center. 1) Can you tell me what this second plant is? 2) Are both/either of these plants worth trying to maintain as a ground cover instead of planting other grasses? I have an acre of yard, and prefer minimum maintenace and watering. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Your plant with the lavender flowers sounds like Justicia pilosella (Gregg's tubetongue). Another possibility is Dyschoriste linearis (snake herb). Both of these, plus Calyptocarpus vialis (horse herb), should make fine groundcovers as long as there isn't heavy traffic over them.

 


Justicia pilosella

Dyschoriste linearis

Calyptocarpus vialis

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground covers to enrich soil over winter in Austin
September 03, 2006 - I am about to have a baby so will not be working my vegetable garden from about now (September) through the winter or spring. Is there something (a grass, maybe?) that I can plant now that will benefi...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a slope in NY
April 04, 2010 - I live in New York State about 60 miles north of NYC. I have a very wide hill in the front of my house that I am just unable to keep up with. I can mow the bottom portion but using a weed trimmer fo...
view the full question and answer

Alternative to grass as groundcover in area used by dog
January 05, 2007 - I am looking for a beautiful groundcover to use instead of grass which need to be soft and animal friendly. My dog is in the yard a lot and she's 10 yrs old. I am looking for a groundcover which wi...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for parking strip in Pasadena, California
January 04, 2010 - Can you suggest a low growing, low maintenance plant which will spread to cover parking strip in Pasadena, California? Thank you.
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