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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

 

 

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