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?


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

Friday - May 08, 2009

From: Leavenworth, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native plants for eroding hillside in Kansas
Answered by: Nina Hawkins


We have a creek running thru our property and the hill running down to it is about 30 feet tall, in some places almost straight down, some sloping. Some is in shade, some full sun. We would like some flowering plants, if possible, that will aid with erosion since the rain water is washing the hillside.


Your best bet for effective erosion control is definitely grasses because their fibrous roots hold soil very well.  But there's certainly no reason that should stop you from having wildflowers too.  Grasses are not to be underestimated - they provide interest when your flowers aren't blooming and many look great en masse.  You can find a wide variety of native plants that are recommended for your area on our Recommended Species page, where you can also narrow your search to certain characteristics and choose the water and light requirements specific to a spot on your hillside.  Below are some beautiful grasses and a few wildflowers that often grow among grasses.  These plants are native to Kansas and several are known to reseed freely to form colonies.    

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Echinacea angustifolia (blacksamson echinacea)

Liatris pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket)

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

Schizachyrium scoparium

Koeleria macrantha

Bouteloua curtipendula

Sorghastrum nutans

Echinacea angustifolia

Liatris pycnostachya

Tradescantia ohiensis

Chamaecrista fasciculata



More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Tolerance to foot traffic for native turf grass
December 16, 2010 - I have read your articles on your mix of three native seeds for turf grass and on other native grasses but am left with a couple of lingering questions. We have about a 600 sq. ft area we want to plan...
view the full question and answer

Native lawn grass for Seabrook TX
March 12, 2013 - We want to seed our lawn in Seabrook, Tx.77586 with a Natural Grass replacing our St. Augustine Grass. I think there is one that is drought resistant (only water it twice a month.) and that does not g...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine with native grass in Austin
February 24, 2012 - We are renting a house our Sister-in-law owns- the St Augustine is in tough shape, drought and lack of care over the years. Could we plant a native grass or do we have to pull up the remaining St. Aug...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to control erosion in Montgomery County, Texas
February 24, 2014 - I am looking for some kind of ground cover to control erosion on a north facing slope in Montgomery County, Texas. The area gets very little direct sunlight. I need something that will establish quick...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center