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
1 rating

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

Best fertilizer for live oak trees in Central Texas
April 22, 2010 - What is the best fertilizer for live oak trees in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Flowering evergreen shrubs for sun in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I am looking for a flowering evergreen shrubs that can take all afternoon sun(on the west side of our house. Preferably 2ft high and 2 ft wide. I had planted a few Salvia Greggii(Autumn Sage) which on...
view the full question and answer

Amending soil for butterfly garden in Houston
April 01, 2013 - My girl scout troop will be planting a butterfly garden at a middle school in Houston. In researching plants to use, we have come across some such as echinacea, rose vervain, galliarda and Texas gay...
view the full question and answer

Planting from pots in summer in Austin
July 01, 2009 - It's the last week in June and temperatures are going to be at 100 or more all week. I've some plants that I'm wondering about transplanting to an exposed site in this heat: muhlenbergeria lindheim...
view the full question and answer

Sudden death of Texas Mountain Laurel
April 14, 2008 - Last year, my 15-year-old Mountain Laurel died very suddenly. The leaves began to curl up and turn brown, and it was dead within about 15 days. What happened?
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