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
2 ratings

Wednesday - February 09, 2011

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shade-loving Grass for the Houston area
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have an ash tree that completely shades the majority of our front yard and is not allowing the St. Augustine grass to grow. Is there a shade-loving grass good for the Houston area?

ANSWER:

Sure! - Although it depends on how serious you are on the request for a grass.

Several very similar questions have been posed.  Somebody in Houston wanted "Plants for shade".  Here is a link to that answerChasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), which is recommended there, is a lovely grass but is 2-4 ft. high. Most of the rest of the plants mentioned in this answer are shrubs or higher.  Another recommended grass is Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass).  This is also lovely, but runs 3-8 ft. high. You might want to consider a combination of inland seaoats, and Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage), that grows well in shade.  It has lovely red flowers that attract hummingbirds and is easy to care for. 

Here is another similar discussion, where the question was about grasses in Montgomery County  [Just to the North of Houston]. That discussion recommended buffalograss.  In general, buffalograss does not grow very well in shade.  Native American Seed, a Wildflower Center associate, has a buffalograss that they claim to be shade tolerant.

                   
Salvia coccinea
                Sorghastrum nutans                   Chasmanthium latifolium

I'm suspecting you may want a ground cover, or at least something a bit lower.  This previous question/answer pair applies specifically to ground covers.  I have Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) in my own lawn in Austin and it does decently in partial shade.  Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) also works really well in this kind of application.

            
Calyptocarpus vialis                    Phyla nodiflora

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Privacy shrub in part shade to shade in Austin
April 29, 2010 - Barbara Medford's July 1, 2008 reply regarding Little Emperor Japanese Blueberry Tree is exactly my experience with cherry laurel in partial sun/shaded area in Austin, Texas. For 6 - 8' height si...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant privacy fence for shade in Hill Country
April 28, 2009 - I am looking for a shrub to plant along a privacy fence that gets 8+ feet tall, fast growing, preferably native, deer resistant, and can tolerate mostly shade. I reside in the Hill Country area. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn in Carson City, NV
October 15, 2013 - I planted habiturf just south of Reno NV May 5. First two months no or little germination because nite temps too cold. Now doing ok except battling purslane and redstem filaree.. SO, I notice bare/spa...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen from Simpsonville SC
May 04, 2013 - My neighbor cut down his part of our shared woods so now we see his whole "outside patio area". What kinds of fast growing shade loving trees and shrubs can we plant on our property line that will c...
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