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
2 ratings

Saturday - July 11, 2009

From: Mechanicsburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Non-vascular moss between flagstones in Mechanicsburg PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We would like to plant moss between our flagstone. However, the moss will have full sun all day. Can you recommend a moss for Central Pennsylvania near Harrisburg?


There are about 12,000 species of non-vascular plants referred to as "moss;" since we deal only with vascular plants, we can't help you with that. We do know that mosses need a damp, shady environment, which doesn't sound like your description. We Googled on "Moss for paths" and found this gardenhive.com website "How do you maintain a moss path?" One suggestion we might make is a good quality shredded hardwood mulch, if you feel the need for something sunworthy between your flagstones. We searched our Native Plant Database for low growing plants native to Pennsylvania that could tolerate full sun, and found 5 that might work for you.

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort) - 8" tall, blooms white April to October, sun, part shade or shade, moist soil

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit) - about 6" tall, semi-evergreen, blooms white May to October, sun or part shade

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox) - to 1 ft. tall, blooms white, blue, purple April and May, sun, part shade or shade

Viola sororia (common blue violet) - 6 to 10" tall, reseeding annual, blooms white, pink, blue, purple March to May, sun or part shade

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot) - about 4" tall, sun or part shade

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Phyla nodiflora

Phlox stolonifera

Viola sororia

Dichondra carolinensis



More Groundcovers Questions

Ground covers for sandy hill in New York
April 12, 2006 - We have just built a new home and a sandy fill was needed around the house. It sits on a hill and the fill is very sandy. We would like to plant something to stabilize the bank that is native to the a...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
June 24, 2012 - What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Native groundcover for central California
September 02, 2009 - In Modesto, CA. Hot summers, cold winters. Need a low ground cover for area next to driveway approx. 5ft X 14ft. that stays green all year round. I did have grass there but neigbors lawn is loaded wit...
view the full question and answer

What will grow in red clay in Conroe TX?
April 10, 2011 - We just built a new home and the foundation was poured on red clay which is what my flowerbed area is in. Could you please tell me what can be planted that will grow. I am looking for ground cover, fl...
view the full question and answer

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

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