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

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

Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
April 17, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
view the full question and answer

Recommendations for native shade plants in sandy soil
July 30, 2007 - I live in Rockport, TX, and would like to plant a small, shaded triangular corner (bounded on 2 sides by wooden fence)in my front yard. The area has limited southern exposure due to shading by live o...
view the full question and answer

Shady shrubs for an ugly fence in New Jersey.
June 23, 2011 - What type of tree or shrub can I plant in 07747 NJ to cover an ugly fence that gets little or no sun. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Mulching in deep shade in Round Rock TX
June 22, 2010 - Central Texas: Problem is deep shade and high temps. I noted your advice about danger to the tree when planting beneath shade trees, but wonder if there is a substance - perhaps pine needles - that co...
view the full question and answer

Shade and Rain Garden in South Carolina
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have two seperate but important questions for your mastery of native plant knowledge. First, I live in a thick, 112 ft. tall white oak forest. Therefore, there is lot...
view the full question and answer

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