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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.

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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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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

 

 

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