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?


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

Tuesday - October 05, 2010

From: LaRue, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for East Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Thank you for your response to (Hamelia), it was very helpful. I recently moved to East Texas and I live in a rural area at altitude 754ft with a sloping landscape with good drainage. My property is mostly wooded but I also have a good deal of sun. I am interested in a native ground cover that is drought tolerant and one that will not get out of control. I have no way to ‘border’ the ground cover so it must grow enough to cover but not take over. Any suggestions?


Here are some candidates for ground covers that are native to Henderson County or adjacent counties.  There is a mix of shade and sun plants.

Geum canadense (White avens) grows in shade and part shade and is evergreen if watered in the summer.  The Wasowskis in Native Texas Plants:  Landscaping Region by Region say that this plant can be mowed to 4 inches.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) is evergreen and grows in shade and part shade to less than four inches.

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) grows in sun and part shade and is almost evergreen, but it may go dormant in summer.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is almost evergreen but can go dormant in winter.  It grows in sun, part shade and shade.

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) is evergreen and grows in the shade to one or two feet.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) is evergreen and grows in sun, part shade and shade to one to two feet, but can be mowed to four inches.

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) is evergreen and grows in shade and part shade.  It grows to two feet but can be mowed to 3 inches.

Glandularia bipinnatifida (Purple prairie verbena) is evergreen and grows to 10 inches in sun, part shade, and shade.

Geum canadense

Mitchella repens

Oenothera speciosa

Phyla nodiflora

Polystichum acrostichoides

Salvia lyrata

Packera obovata

Glandularia bipinnatifida





More Groundcovers Questions

Lawn Options for Saginaw, MI
April 09, 2015 - I'm looking for a low maintenance, high traffic lawn alternative. Will Texas Frogfruit handle the winter? My yard is small so covering it is an option.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shallow soil in hillside north of San Antonio
March 27, 2010 - I live in the Hill Country north of San Antonio. The yard around the house has very shallow soil and is sloped. Bermuda has a hard time maintaining. Are there any other low growing ground covers that ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for sun in Phenix City, AL
April 04, 2011 - I live in Phenix City, AL and am new to planting. I have a 60 x 15 feet slope that is just dirt. I am going to till it next week and want to plant some various ground cover plants (that will grow to c...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Maryland to replace English ivy
September 21, 2009 - What is a suitable ground cover native replacement for english ivy? Native to Maryland.
view the full question and answer

Buffalo grass and other native grass for lawn in Central Texas
March 17, 2008 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX - recently moved to into a newly built house. I wanted to put some native grass (like buffalo) in the back yard. - My back yard has slope (away from house) and front...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center