Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - January 20, 2011

From: Grinnell, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Short to Medium Height Grasses for Iowa
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

What short to medium height native grass can be planted in late fall at the same time I sow my wildflower seed?

ANSWER:

The challenge for you is not going to be deciding what to plant, it will be what not to plant. Many grasses will do well in Iowa.

Here's how you can come up with a list: go to Wildflower.org, hover the cursor over Explore Plants until a drop down menu appeared then clicked on Plant Database. Scroll down to Combination Search, select Iowa as the state, select Grass/Grass Like from the drop down menu under Habit. For Height, let's select 0 - 1 ft. and 1 - 3 ft. Let's assume you will be planting in full sun and your soil is dry. Make those selections in the search criteria, then submit the search.

When I did this, it returned 17 results. If you change the assumptions about sun and soil you may come up with more or less.

You can then click on the individual species to see pictures, descriptions, etc. of the plants the search identified.

Probably the best way to narrow your list of candidates down is to see what seeds are available. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center maintains a list of suppliers of native plants and seeds here: Native Plant Suppliers Directory. One seed supplier is Native American Seed. They have a great selection of grass seeds and grass seed mixtures.

Late fall is an ideal time to sow your grass seed.

Here are some examples:


Aristida purpurea


Bouteloua curtipendula


Bromus kalmii

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Ornamental grass next to golf course pond
August 26, 2013 - I need an ornamental grass or shrub that will grow on a terrace next to a golf course pond and be ~ 3' of height. The plant will receive afternoon sun, must survive periodic flooding in the spring an...
view the full question and answer

Type of clumping bamboo for outdoor planters from Plano TX
March 25, 2014 - What type of clumping bamboo can be grown outdoors in planters in Dallas,TX?
view the full question and answer

drought-resistant turf grasses for New York City
June 16, 2011 - Hi - I work at the Smithsonian in New York City and we have a very large lawn that is frequently used in the summer for programming. It gets very beat up. I read an article in teh New York Times about...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
view the full question and answer

Post freeze care for Texas native grasses
January 05, 2008 - Can you tell me the best post-freeze care for Tx native grasses in my garden: lindheimer muhly, gulf muhly, inland sea oats. Mexican feather grass. Do I cut them back? Burn them? Leave them alone? T...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.