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

Friday - November 09, 2007

From: Mesquite, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Evergreen groundcover or ornamental grass to plant under tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What can I plant under my tree as a groundcover? I would like an evergreen groundcover, how about ornamental grasses?

ANSWER:

There are a couple of native grasses, Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) and Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye), that would grow in the shade under your tree, but they aren't going to be evergreen. However, they do have very attractive seed heads that would persist through the winter until the new growth begins in the spring.

Depending on how deep the shade is under your tree, you could also plant Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) or Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) both of which will grow in partial shade.

Sedges are evergreen and both of these, Carex texensis (Texas sedge) and Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge), grow well in the shade.

Here are a couple of other plants that will do well in the shade and will remain evergreen except in severe winters: Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) and Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy).



Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Schizachyrium scoparium

Elymus virginicus

Carex texensis

Carex cherokeensis

Phyla nodiflora

Calyptocarpus vialis

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Perennial ground cover for hillside in Holmdel NJ
April 25, 2014 - I live in NJ. I would like to use a perennial ground cover for my landscaping bed on a hill with full sun and deer resistant. It's a good size landscaping bed that is facing east (southeast). What...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for East Texas
October 05, 2010 - Thank you for your response to (Hamelia), it was very helpful. I recently moved to East Texas and I live in a rural area at altitude 754ft with a sloping landscape with good drainage. My property is...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover beneath a maple
January 24, 2009 - I am looking for something to spread out in the shade of a maple tree. I have tried lily of the valley, ferns, pachysandra, ivy, hosta, euonymus.. nothing spreads out.
view the full question and answer

Will Habiturf thrive in Houston?
July 31, 2012 - Will Habiturf grow in partial sun? My lawn is surrounded by trees so that there is only about an hour each day with direct overhead sun. The rest of the day there is a light shade.
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