Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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 - June 07, 2009

From: Oakton, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Plants to put between stepping stones in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are a public school in Northern Virginia and are looking for native plants that could be planted between heavily used stepping stones and could withstand some foot traffic (mostly in a sunny spot, but would love to know good plants for different light conditions for other areas of the school as well, from very sunny to deep shade).

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants suggests that you go to our Recommended Species page and select Virginia from the map or pull-down menu.  This will give you a list of more than 120 native plants that are commercially available for landscaping in Virginia.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH OPTION to limit the list to a particular type of plant; for instance, under General Appearance you might select 'Herb' or 'Shrub' and then select the appropriate choice under Light Requirement and/or Soil Moisture.  This would give you many choices for the different light conditions in the other areas of your school.  For the areas between stepping stones, here are a few recommendations.  If you can keep traffic to a minimum until the plants are well-established, they will have a better chance of withstanding regular traffic.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle frogfruit)

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot)

Sedum glaucophyllum (cliff stonecrop)

Sedum ternatum (woodland stonecrop)

Portulaca oleracea (little hogweed)

Portulaca halimoides (silkcotton purslane)

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) grows very well in the sun and requires little watering once established.  Since it grows only as high as 12 inches, it would perhaps need mowing only once or twice a season. 


Phyla nodiflora

Dichondra carolinensis

Sedum glaucophyllum

Sedum ternatum

Portulaca oleracea

Portulaca halimoides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Grasses for Erosion control in Iowa
September 27, 2012 - We have a sloping yard in the midwest that gets 2-4 hours of sun during the warm weather. When we have large rainfalls, the water just pours down the slope causing a lot of erosion to the surrounding ...
view the full question and answer

Source for ground pine plants from Ligonier PA
December 21, 2012 - Where can I purchase "ground pine plants? I want to use them for erosion control.
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow between concrete pavers on the patio in Rock Hill, SC..
December 31, 2014 - I have a patio of concrete pavers, about 2 feet by 2 feet each. It gets very little sun. No morning sun at all. The zoysia grass we have between the pavers now does not grow well at all. Do you ha...
view the full question and answer

Buffalo grass and other native grass for lawn in Central Texas
March 17, 2008 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX - recently moved to into a newly built house. I wanted to put some native grass (like buffalo) in the back yard. - My back yard has slope (away from house) and front...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Critical Area Buffer Zone in Maryland
October 06, 2014 - Help RE: Maryland Critical Area Buffer Zone. Is there a low or no- mow grass native to Maryland that can be used in a Critical Area Buffer Zone. The area is Sunny/Clay. Or can you recommend a grou...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.