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
2 ratings

Sunday - November 22, 2009

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Vinca minor and St. Augustine grass
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

Will St. Augustine grass choke out vinca minor?

ANSWER:

The focus and expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is limited to plant species native to North America. Vinca minor(common periwinkle) is a native of Europe and out of our area of expertise. Stenotaphrum secondatum(St. Augustine grass), is of uncertain enough provenance that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does not include it in its Native Plant Database. It wouldn't thrive in settings where it faces long dry periods, especially in full sun, without lots of supplemental water.

As to which plant would dominate, we tend to think that it depends on the setting and timing. If the site has good conditions for Stenotaphrum secondatum(St. Augustine grass), and the grass is well-established and dense, it might resist invasion by Vinca minor(common periwinkle) pretty well. If the Vinca minor(common periwinkle) is the established plant, or if the site stresses the grass, the  Vinca minor(common periwinkle) is likely to dominate.

Perhaps you are looking for a new solution to a problem spot? Try looking at the  Native Plant Database for some ideas.... It's in the Explore Plants section. When you get there you can use a couple of methods to look for plants suitable for your site. By narrowing the search to the type(s) of plants you are looking for – grasses, shrubs, etc. – and choosing specific site conditions – sun, soil moisture – you can generate a list of native plants suited to your needs. You can further narrow by using the Recommended Native Species  function to select plants that thrive in your part of Texas.

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for heavily traveled walkway from Redondo Beach CA
April 23, 2013 - I am looking for a drought resistant ground cover that you can walk on. I live on a south facing, sunny corner lot, 2 blocks from the beach where people park and need to cross over to get to the sidew...
view the full question and answer

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Native plants and grasses for river bank from Rosanky TX
February 19, 2014 - Our property owners association would like to know what native plants/grasses to plant on the Blanco River bank in our river park to help prevent erosion. Some banks are steep and some areas are a gra...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Steep, Sunny Slope in Iowa
April 28, 2013 - I am looking for plants native to Iowa for a steep, sunny slope or groundcover.
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Shady Front Beds in OK
July 15, 2014 - I need a groundcover for my front beds in Edmond, OK that are moist and in full shade. The groundcover would primarily be around and under a Japanese maple. Low maintenance is preferred.
view the full question and answer

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