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?


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

Sunday - July 13, 2008

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Evergreen native replacement for liriope
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What is a good native replacement for Liriope that is evergreen?


There are several things we don't know about your question. Is the area to be in sun or shade? Is it a low-growing border or a ground cover? Or perhaps just something to fill an empty bed or as background for blooming annuals? Liriope muscari is sometimes called "monkey grass" but is not a grass, instead is a member of the lily family. It is a native to shady forest floors in China, Taiwan, and Japan.

We are going to go to Recommended Species for North Central Texas and select several perennials of various types. You can then follow our links to the Native Plant Database and read the information on that specific plant to see if it serves your purposes. Our selections are not going to look like liriope, and some may be semi-evergreen in Dallas. The evergreen requirement is probably the hardest to achieve. Especially the herbaceous perennials, blooming plants, will die back close to the ground and dead material will need to be cleaned up. The grasses will hold their spot and be attractive during most of the Winter, but will also need to be trimmed as new growth appears. You can use the same technique to make your own selections.


Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow) - evergreen to semi-evergreen, to 12" tall, sun to part shade, blooms March to June

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) - to 18" tall, bloom March to July, sun

Ruellia caroliniensis (Carolina wild petunia) - 1 to 3' tall, bloom June to August, part shade

Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet) - part shade to shade, low growing


Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) - poisonous berries, sun, sprawling, blooms April to October


Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) - 2 - 3' tall, sun to shade, blooms June to November

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - 2 to 4' tall, part shade to shade


Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) - creeping groundcover or climbing vine, sun to shade

Callirhoe involucrata

Oenothera speciosa

Ruellia caroliniensis

Viola missouriensis

Lantana urticoides

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Parthenocissus quinquefolia





More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Pollinator friendly lawn for Longmont CO
July 06, 2015 - I have a sunny, treeless, South-facing yard, with a slight South-facing slope in Boulder County, CO. It has one patch of buffalo grass, but is more then half some other type of grass. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Identifying native grasses in DeSoto TX
September 15, 2009 - I want to plant my 1.5 acre yard in a native grass; there are already some grasses growing there. How do I identify this grass? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for native plants on a dry sunny hillside in Baltimore Maryland.
July 28, 2009 - Need native recommendations for sunny, dry hillside for ground cover or shrub in Maryland. Mowing the grass is a pain and an energy waster (and I don't want to be tempted to extend some adjacent exi...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for wildlife in Katrina recovery area of Louisiana
June 21, 2009 - I live in La in an area decimated by Katrina and want to establish 11 acres of wildlife friendly native short grasses. It is partly designated wetlands because it floods, but also has long periods wi...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower meadow for birds
September 19, 2008 - I put in a wildflower feed plot for the song birds 3 years ago. We prepared the bed by first using Round Up to kill all the grass then lightly tilled to scratch the surface and planted the wildflower ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center