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

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

Monday - May 16, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly shade area. Any ideas for Austin, Texas?


Well, one idea is to go to our Native Plant Database  and scroll down to the Combination Search Box. Select Texas under State, Herb under Habit, and Perennial  under Duration. Check Part shade under Light requirement, Dry under Soil moisture, and 0-1ft under height. Click the Submit Combination Search Button, and you will a list of 54 native species that meet these criteria. Clicking  on the scientific name of each species will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant along with growth requirements and images. These aren’t all suitable for growing between flagstones but there are some that you might like.

Here are a few that I found that may be possibilities
 Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy)

Dichondra argentea (Silver ponyfoot)

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)

Sedum nanifolium (Dwarf stonecrop)

The Wild Flower Center is all about flowering plants and trees, but you might find this link to mosses interesting.

Calyptocarpus vialis

Dichondra argentea

Mitchella repens

Phyla nodiflora






More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Fall care for Fan Scarlet lobelia in Rock Island IL
November 09, 2009 - What do I do with Scarlet Fan lobelia in the fall; do I cut it back or let it go as is?
view the full question and answer

Pollinator friendly lawn for Longmont CO
July 06, 2015 - I have a sunny, treeless, South-facing yard, with a slight South-facing slope in Boulder County, CO. It has one patch of buffalo grass, but is more then half some other type of grass. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Gaura drying out in Plano TX
May 13, 2012 - My gaura plant of 3 years suddenly seems to be drying out and no longer green or blooming?
view the full question and answer

Competition between peony and bulbs
November 06, 2015 - I am planting 3 herbaceous peony bare roots 3 feet apart from each other. I am told it will take 3 years before I get blooms. In the meantime, can i safely plant springtime flowering bulbs in th...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at the Wildflower Center from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Wildflower Center today and loved the green plants with delicate white flowers that were in both clay pots in front of the auditorium. Please let me know the name of the plants.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center