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?

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
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

Monday - September 21, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native grasses for shade for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just read with interest your article on multi-species native lawns. However, I believe the suggested grasses don't grow well in the shade, is this true. Are there any suggestions for native (multi-species) lawns that will do well in shade?

ANSWER:

You are correct, the native grasses suitable for Central Texas and for lawns that can be mowed are all sun lovers, and will not prosper in shade. There are, however, ornamental grasses that do very well in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) or shade (2 hours of sun). These are not, however, grasses to be mowed down into the kind of lawns homeowner's associations mandate.

Native American Seed, in Junction, TX specializes in seeds and seed mixes for Texas and surrounding areas. You can go to their home page and then click on "Shop for Seeds;" in that dropdown list click on "Grass Mixes." On that page are several grasses suitable for different uses, select "Shade-Friendly Grass Mixes."  This provides a list of shade-friendly grasses, all of which are appropriate for Central Texas. However, they are not all necessarily appropriate for an urban yard, so we would suggest you buy packets of the individual seeds, instead of the mix. The ones we like for yards, used in a meadow setting, or even as a hedge along a sidewalk are:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye)

Follow the links to the pages on each grass in our Native Plant Database for more information.

Pictures from our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus virginicus

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for shaded fence in Arizona
January 28, 2009 - I need to place a fence around my front yard (4-5 ft tall), in Arizona. What evergreen flower/plant can you recommend that would grow on this fence? (it would only get about 2-4 hours of sun daily and...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
December 10, 2012 - Half of my small yard is in the shade of one big live oak and one kumquat. Nothing I plant grows in this shade. The other half of my yard gets sunlight. It is planted with Jasmine grass which grows w...
view the full question and answer

Vines for a shady porch in Oregon
February 22, 2010 - My husband and I just bought our first home this fall in St. Johns, Portland. We would like to grow a vine on our front porch, but it is in full shade. It faces north east. We planted some jasmine vin...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center