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

Wednesday - May 07, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus lawn. Can you recommend a short groundcover that can take minimal foot traffic? and do you think I still have time to plant this spring? Thanks!

ANSWER:

It is really on the late side to expect anything to come up from seeds, but bedding plants will probably still work. Local nurseries that carry native plants (see our National Suppliers Directory for a listing) should have at least some of these in stock.

One of the sedges would make a good groundcover. They have the advantage of being evergreen and will take moderate traffic.

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

These next two plants are semi-evergreen, depending on the winter temperatures.

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)


Carex cherokeensis

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Non-blooming crape myrtle in Italy, TX
June 25, 2008 - It's Italy, TX, again! Thanks for the advice and links, and I'll study those..but here's where I'm stumped on crape myrtle. I have two (almost) trees because they've been planted over 15 years ...
view the full question and answer

Need help with stabilizing a partial shaded slope in Prince George's County, MD.
September 08, 2009 - I have a partial shade sloped area about 40 ft. x 100ft; that is at the top of a natural drainage. Slope is maybe 10%. There is a thin layer of topsoil on top of a heavier clay layer (it was pasture...
view the full question and answer

Need mowable ground cover for shady area under trees in Lake Charles, LA.
July 12, 2010 - I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a large portion of my back yard that is very shady because I have large trees in the yard. The area dries up fairly quickly after a heavy rain, so it isn't extre...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shady area in Brenham, TX
February 19, 2008 - I have an area which receives shade all day, but gets a lot of sun just before sunset. What sorts of plants would do well?
view the full question and answer

Stumps of fallen oaks in Hurricane Irene from Newton PA
September 03, 2011 - Two large red oaks fell in the woods in our yard in Newtown PA due to Hurricane Irene. The trees have been removed, but the stumps remain. Please can you recommend some fast-growing, attractive, nativ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center