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
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

Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin
January 10, 2013 - I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
October 17, 2012 - I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for a slope in MA
April 04, 2010 - We live in Eastern MA. We have a hill behind our house that was previously mulched. Slope is 45 degrees in direct sun, clay soil. We have another hill by the road side that is partially shaded with ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for heavily traveled walkway from Redondo Beach CA
April 23, 2013 - I am looking for a drought resistant ground cover that you can walk on. I live on a south facing, sunny corner lot, 2 blocks from the beach where people park and need to cross over to get to the sidew...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Shady Front Beds in OK
July 15, 2014 - I need a groundcover for my front beds in Edmond, OK that are moist and in full shade. The groundcover would primarily be around and under a Japanese maple. Low maintenance is preferred.
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