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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wednesday - June 15, 2011

From: Cape Coral, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shaded Groundcover for Florida
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Looking for ground cover for shade. Area is between two houses. Something with minimal amount of work and care.

ANSWER:

Sure!  Natives are the way to go when you are looking for minimal work & care; after all they had to survive on their own in your area for a long time.  What we like to do for this type of question is to recommend that you be sure to review the pages that the Native Plant Society of Florida puts out.  They get so detailed that they actually have a list of Recommended Plants for Lee County.  I took that list and compared it to those that thrive in shade or partial shade in our NPIN list of recommended plants for Central Florida, and there were three groundcovers that both agreed upon - - looks like some pretty good choices.

 They are Ipomoea pes-caprae (Railroad vine)Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) and Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass).

If you wish to stretch slightly beyond just groundcover – check out the rest of those lists.  There are also two appropriate previous Mr Smarty Plants discussions from your general area.  One from North Port discussing groundcovers but without the shade requirement and another from Tampa which was more concerned about whether the plants were deer resistant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Railroad vine
Ipomoea pes-caprae

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium

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