En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Setaria scheelei grass for San Antonio

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

Monday - March 21, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Setaria scheelei grass for San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

It seems that ornamental grasses for dry shady places are few and far between. Southwestern Bristlegrass (Setaria scheelei) is exactly what I'm looking for and would solve all my problems! Only I can't figure out how to acquire this lovely plant. Native seed suppliers don't seem to carry it and I don't see it on your Spring Plant Sale list. Might it be available at the Fall Sale? How else might I go about solving this little dilemma?

ANSWER:

Okay, we see what you're saying. Even the list of 652 plants that grow on the grounds of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does not include Setaria scheelei (Southwestern bristlegrass). We went to our usual first resort for grass seeds, Native American Seeds, Grasses, and they don't list it, either. Native American Seed always has a tent where they sell seeds at our Plant Sales, but if it's not in their catalog, it seems unlikely that they will have it with them at the Spring or the Fall Sale.

So, we dug a little further. Under Native Mixes,  NAS has a Shade-Friendly Mix of grasses, including Setaria macrostachya, Plains Bristlegrass, which we do not have in our Native Plant Database. Here is some more information on Plains Bristlegrass.

We don't want to throw cold water on your project, but we don't think you should expect any plant to solve all your problems, garden or otherwise. A grass mix designed for dry shady places would be far more predictable and reliable than putting all your eggs in one grass. We recommend you at least consider the shade mix from NAS. It includes the following grasses. Those that are in our database are links to the pages on those plants, so you can study their growing conditions and requirements as apply to your own situation,

Tridens flavus (Purpletop tridens)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye or canada wild rye)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye)

Setaria macrostachya

Nassella leucotricha (Texas wintergrass)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Tridens flavus


Chasmanthium latifolium


Elymus canadensis


Bouteloua curtipendula


Elymus virginicus


Nassella leucotricha

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Do I need to cover my Habiturf planting with straw?
March 02, 2012 - I'm preparing to seed the Habiturf in my front yard in a couple of weeks. My dad has suggested I spread some straw to help protect the seeds. Your thoughts? Thanks!!!
view the full question and answer

Plants for Liberty Hill TX in full sun
April 15, 2008 - We recently bought an acre of land in Liberty Hill, TX. We have a large planting area in the front that is devoid of any plant life. I would like to turn this into a semi shaded area with some annua...
view the full question and answer

Advice about buffalo grass lawn in NW Arkansas
June 10, 2014 - I am determined to grow a native buffalo grass (bouteloua) lawn in Northwest Arkansas. My question is this: I am considering mixing an annual rye into the bouteloua seed mix for the purpose of quick, ...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center