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Monday - November 02, 2009

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover for shade in Paris, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a south exposure with 2 large sycamore trees. Noon sun in patches and mainly dappled shade but not dense. I'm consideering planting asian ivy. The soil is "sandy loam" but it's very sandy and heavy. St. Augustine grass grows but I don't want it. Are my chances good?


Since the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's mission is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes," we are going to recommend that you NOT plant the non-native Asian ivy (Hedera colchica)

We are happy that you are getting rid of your St. Augustine grass, however, and we can offer you some native alternatives to Asian ivy.  These are suggestions from the Wasowski's Native Texas Plants:  Landscaping Region by Region for groundcovers that grow in the shade and in sand in your area of the state:

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) forms dense green mats in the shade, grows to 8-10 inches, but can be mowed to 2-4 inches.

Geum canadense (white avens) can grow to over 18 inches, but can be mowed to 4 inches.  If watered in the summertiime, it will remain evergreen.

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) is evergreen and usually only 2 inches high.  It needs water in the summertime to remain evergreen.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit) is usually 3-4 inches high and can remain evergreen in mild winters.

Rivina humilis (rougeplant) grows 1 to 1.5 feet high and can remain evergreen in mild winters.

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) is evergreen and can grow to 2 feet but can also be mowed to 4 inches after it has bloomed and its seeds have set.

Packera obovata [syn.=Senecio obovatus] (roundleaf ragwort) is evergreen and can grow up to 2 feet high, but can be mowed to 3 inches after it has flowered and the seeds have set.

Glandularia canadensis [syn. = Verbena canadensis] (rose mock vervain) grows 5-10 inches high in dappled or part shade.

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) is an evergreen fern 1-2 feet high that requires moist soil with good drainage—so sand should be ideal.

Thelypteris kunthii (Kunth's maiden fern) usual height is 1.5 feet, but can grow higher.  It dies down and becomes dormant after frost.  It can grow in the sun but requires more moisture when growing in the sun.

Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Mitchella repens

Phyla nodiflora

Rivina humilis

Salvia lyrata

Packera obovata

Glandularia canadensis

Polystichum acrostichoides

Thelypteris kunthii





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