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

Monday - July 12, 2010

From: Lake Charles, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Need mowable ground cover for shady area under trees in Lake Charles, LA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a large portion of my back yard that is very shady because I have large trees in the yard. The area dries up fairly quickly after a heavy rain, so it isn't extremely moist. Nothing really grows there though. I really want some sort of groundcover that I can mow and that my son can walk on. I'm just tired of looking at a yard that is half grass and half dirt. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

You didn't mention the kind of trees or the type of soil that you have in your yard. Both of these factors can influence the kinds of plants that will grow there.

The following is a list of plants that are considered groundcovers that can grow in shady conditions. 

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) grows less than 1 foot high. Can be mowed

Geum canadense (white avens) grows from 4 inches to over 3 feet, but can be mowed.  It is evergreen if watered in summer.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit) grows 3 to 4 inches high and is evergreen to dormant in winter.

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) grows 4 to 18 inches or more, but can be mowed and is evergreen if watered in summer.

Packera obovata (roundleaf ragwort) grows 3 inches to 2 feet but can be mowed and is evergreen. 

Clicking on the name of the plant will bring up its NPIN page which has infromation about the plant's characteristics, growing conditions and photos.


Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Phyla nodiflora

Salvia lyrata

Packera obovata

 



 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Correct cultural conditions for liatris
April 15, 2008 - I recently bought some gayfeather (liatris pycnostachya) and planted in my yard in a nice full sun spot. Gets sun for roughly 10 hours a day. However, it's also the single driest spot in my yard (jus...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant shade shrubs for Lago Vista, TX.
June 24, 2010 - I purchased a home in Lago Vista, Tx. It has a very shady front yard. I want to plant some blooming shrubs that THE DEER WON'T EAT! I would prefer native plants for the area. What should I look f...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses to accompany buffalograss in shade
May 01, 2008 - What grass goes with buffalo for shade/partial shade?
view the full question and answer

Plants for under Oak Trees in LA.
March 05, 2013 - What type of plants and grass can be planted under and around oak trees
view the full question and answer

Flowering Shrub for Houston, TX
April 24, 2014 - I live in Houston, Texas and would like to plant a flowering shrub 3-6 feet in height. It will get sun to part sun, 2-6 hours daily. I have had azaleas in this area and am now looking for something to...
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