En Español

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

Groundcovers for Shade Under a Sweetgum
March 25, 2015 - I have 3 large sweetgum trees that produce so much shade each summer, and grass, even grass meant for shade, won't grow here. It's become a barren desert! I have English ivy but it only seems to gro...
view the full question and answer

Oxalis drummondii as ground cover
May 11, 2007 - We live in Austin, Texas. A sunny, dry swath of grass (originally St. Augustine) has been invaded by pink wood-sorrel (a large-leafed, mounding kind). I love the wood-sorrel, and would like to use it ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
January 09, 2008 - I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or gras...
view the full question and answer

Coexistence of rubus trivialis and American beautyberry
May 28, 2007 - I'm growing some rubus trivialis in a 1-gal. pot and plan to plant it this fall. Will this dewberry coexist with American beautyberry, or must it have its own space entirely? If it needs its own sp...
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcovers for Spartanburg, SC
November 23, 2013 - I need suggestions for native groundcovers for Spartanburg, SC. The area to be covered is a fairly steep slope, with a lot of afternoon sun. In the morning, some areas remain shaded until noon whil...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center