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
3 ratings

Wednesday - July 29, 2009

From: Wicksburg/Newton, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Low native groundcover for Wicksburg/Newton AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am laying a rather wide-set flagstone pathway in our back weeds (planning some native grass and wildflowers in the fall on either side of the path). I am looking for some very low native groundcover or native grass to plant between the stones that won't need to be mowed and can handle foot traffic. I have to plant something quick or the weeds will take over ASAP!


Since you did not specify if the path would be in sun or shade, or both, we have listed a number of low-growing plants  that are native to the Dale County area in the southeastern corner of Alabama. You can follow the plant links to the webpage on each individual plant to determine expected height, bloom time and color and light requirements. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun daily, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" 2 hours or less. A caution about weeds; no plant, native or not, is going to suppress unwanted plants, "weeds," from coming up. Know what your plant looks like, and be ruthless in pulling out everything else.

Ground cover plants for southeastern Alabama:

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Geranium carolinianum (Carolina geranium)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Viola affinis (sand violet)

Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet)

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet)

Viola septemloba (southern coastal violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Viola walteri (prostrate blue violet)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Phlox latifolia (wideflower phlox)

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox)

Phyla nodiflora

Dichondra carolinensis

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Geranium carolinianum

Calyptocarpus vialis

Mitchella repens

Viola affinis

Viola cucullata

Viola pedata

Viola septemloba

Viola sororia

Viola walteri

Phlox divaricata

Phlox latifolia

Phlox stolonifera





More Groundcovers Questions

Replacing Weeds with Native Plants in Dallas Area
May 29, 2011 - I have a large oak tree in my front yard and lots and lots of miscellaneous weeds (clover, chickweed, stickers, etc.). I am wanting to grow grass in my front yard, that is shaded pretty much most of t...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for under oak in Plano, Texas
May 15, 2009 - I live in Plano Texas USA. I have a huge live oak tree in my front yard and a large Cape Myrtle as well under these trees no grass will grow so we have dirt or mud when it rains. Fact is the front y...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance, shade tolerant groundcover for Pacific Northwest
August 09, 2012 - What's a good low maintenance, shade tolerant ground cover for the Pacific Northwest? It needs to have good erosion control, too.
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
March 15, 2013 - What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover Planting in Shiro TX
July 09, 2015 - I have been collecting seeds from White Avens and Texas Sedge to use as ground covers. What is the optimal time to plant these seeds? We have been experiencing heavy rains in our area lately, so I am ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center