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

Saturday - March 21, 2009

From: Harvard , MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for Massachusetts
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We are trying to kill poison ivy in shaded areas bordering our driveway and want to plant something quickly to replace it. There are many tall trees in this area, mainly pine and oak, and the soil is not very good. What do you recommend? (Saw an answer for CA but the plants did not seem Northeast suitable!) We would like an attractive ground cover, flowering if possible. Thank you!


Here are some Massachusetts natives that make nice ground covers:

Antennaria plantaginifolia (woman's tobacco)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger)

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Geum canadense (white avens)

Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal)

Lycopodium digitatum (fan clubmoss)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Check the "Growing Conditions" for each one to determine which would do the best in your site.

Antennaria plantaginifolia

Asarum canadense

Cornus canadensis

Gaultheria procumbens

Geum canadense

Hydrastis canadensis

Lycopodium digitatum

Mitchella repens

Polystichum acrostichoides

Viola pedata

Viola sororia




More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcovers for Moreno Valley, CA
May 17, 2012 - Hi, I live in Moreno Valley, CA I have a huge flower bed area surrounding our grass I am looking for the best ground cover that will have minimal up keep.
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcover for New Braunfels, TX
September 24, 2011 - Could you recommend some deer resistant ground cover plants for the New Braunfels area? We have tried Ajuga and Katie's Ruellia and they have been eaten.
view the full question and answer

Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
June 03, 2010 - I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
view the full question and answer

Source of dollarweed for shady lawn in Hillsboro TX
December 19, 2011 - I live in Hillsboro,Tx - Where can I get Dollar Weed for my shady lawn?
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant plants for IN
August 23, 2011 - What are some plants that would do well in an east facing area near my front door? I live in Indianapolis IN. I need something that is drought resistant and will fill in a 4x3 foot walled off area th...
view the full question and answer

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