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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - December 10, 2009

From: Humble, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grass mix suitable for Houston
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do you have a native grass mix that is appropriate to the Houston area- or will the one you have developed to this point work as well here as it does in Central Texas? If not, when will you begin to develop such a grass for this area? Best regards.

ANSWER:

Indeed, we do! Dr. Mark Simmons, Wildflower Center ecologist, has been leading the research to determine the best mix for native turf grass for Texas and the winners are:  Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama), and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite).  There are caveats, however—all three of these grasses love the sun and don't do well in shade (less than 2 hours or sun per day) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) and buffalograss doesn't like sand.  If your lawn has shady areas, you can use a shade-tolerant groundcover in that area and use the turf mix in the sunny areas. If your lawn is extremely sandy, you will need to add compost to the sand for buffalograss to do well.  Indeed, adding compost to your soil, no matter what its major component is, is a good idea.  Please see our How to Article, Native Lawns, for more information about creating a native lawn with these grasses.  The article also gives links to seed companies that carry seeds for these grasses.  Here are a few suggestions for shade-loving groundcovers:

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Rivina humilis (rougeplant)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

You can see more native plants for the Houston area from the Native Plant Society of Texas-Houston Chapter.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Hilaria belangeri

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

Rivina humilis

Carex cherokeensis

 

 

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Native plants for under a pine tree in Vevay IN
June 29, 2009 - At our office we have a very nice garden however, in the front we have a large pine tree. We cannot get anything to take root & live there. Do you have any suggestions for a native shrub or perennia...
view the full question and answer

Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
May 04, 2011 - I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Frost damage to native plants in Austin
December 19, 2011 - Hello, We bought a number of native plants at this fall's WFC sale and planted them. The recent frost seems to have defoliated our pitcher sage, beautyberry, butterflyweed, and flame acanthus plan...
view the full question and answer

Soil improvement near Kerrville, TX
December 11, 2010 - We live in the Kerrville area; the soil is extremely shallow and deficient. The yard consists of mainly native plants, with a concentration of plants for butterflies and birds. What kind of soil and ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center