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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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Monday - March 02, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native ground cover for Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm interested in finding native ground cover, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a steep slope along Soldiers Creek. Currently there is Jasmine, ivy, prairie spiderwort, native pines, magnolias, oaks, yaupons. We have a sprinkler system. We would like to add color if at all possible

ANSWER:

You already have quite an assortment of plants there, both native and non-native. We are assuming from the other species that you have growing, and the fact that there are a number of trees, that you have a shade situation. We will go to our Recommended Species section for East Texas, NARROW YOUR SEARCH, and select first on "Herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants) under Habit to get some color. Then, we will select on "Grasses and Grass-like Plants" under Habit. For both, we will select "Perennial" for Duration and "Shade" (2 hours or less a day of sun) and "Part Shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun). This will give you an opportunity to select some flowering plants for color, but not necessarily erosion protection and some native grasses which are very good for erosion. Follow each plant link to the individual plant page on our website for information on height, bloom time, moisture requirements, etc. At the bottom of each page there will also be a link to Google on that plant for further information. These plants are all commercially available; after you have made your selections, if you have difficulty locating what you want, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your general area.

HERBACEOUS FLOWERING PLANTS FOR HOUSTON

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Hibiscus aculeatus (comfortroot)

Hymenocallis liriosme (spring spiderlily)

Iris brevicaulis (zigzag iris)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Penstemon murrayanus (scarlet beardtongue)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE PLANTS FOR HOUSTON

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Tripsacum dactyloides (eastern gamagrass)


Conoclinium coelestinum

Coreopsis lanceolata

Hibiscus aculeatus

Hymenocallis liriosme

Iris brevicaulis

Lobelia cardinalis

Penstemon murrayanus

Phlox divaricata

Andropogon gerardii

Andropogon virginicus

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Tripsacum dactyloides

 

 

 

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