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
1 rating

Monday - October 26, 2009

Region: Midwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Small perennials & grasses for a naturalized lawn
Answered by: Anne Bossart


I am looking for native perennials and grasses that will grow no more than 8 inches tall that can be used in a naturalized lawn in Michigan. What 5 plants would be your first choice?


That is a very tall order ... because most suitable plants would be much taller as they are prairie plants. But here are few selected from our Recommended Species list. 

Some of them are woodland plants which may not thirive if your lawn is too sunny and dry.  If you click on the link and do the search, you may find plants who have shorter relatives in the nurseries.  You may also have some luck if you search out rock garden plants.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood)

Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover)

Sisyrinchium montanum (strict blue-eyed grass)

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet)

Carex pensylvanica

Cornus canadensis

Dalea purpurea

Sisyrinchium montanum

Viola pedata

More Turf Questions

Short wildflowers to interplant with grass in PA
July 05, 2011 - I live in NE PA and would like to grow short wildflowers throughout my yard mixed in with my grass. Is this possible? If so, what would be a good match for my zone? I will be mowing the grass once a w...
view the full question and answer

Lawn Grass for North Georgia
February 19, 2009 - I would like to know which type of grass would be best to plant in my yard? I have two dogs so there is a lot of traffic. The yard is on a slope so some of it stays dry while the rest is almost always...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion in IL
August 02, 2012 - We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye...
view the full question and answer

Brown ryegrass in Austin lawn
June 03, 2008 - We had rye grass planted in our yard last fall. It was beautiful all winter. Now it is brown but the St. Augustine has not yet taken over, so there are large portions of the lawn with an abundance o...
view the full question and answer

Mixing of bluebonnets and buffalograss in a lawn
April 22, 2007 - I have moved into a house with a yard full of weeds. I would like to plant Buffalograss but understand Buffalograss is sparce and difficult to keep the weeds out. So, I was considering mixing it wit...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center