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

Tuesday - July 26, 2011

From: Marion, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for slope in central Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Our home is atop a 20-25' eastern facing sandy loam slope in central Alabama. It was previously covered w/ kudzu. After 3 yrs. of eradication of the kudzu we are ready to plant with native grasses/plants. Obviously our concern is soil erosion, but we would like to maintain our beautiful view. Any suggestions? Thanks so much


Congratulations to you for eradicating the kudzu!  Be vigilant and don't let it get a foothold again.

Assuming that your slope is mostly in the sun or at least only part shade, here are some recommendations for grasses and annual or perennial herbaceous plants that are generally less than three feet high.  You should read the GROWING CONDITIONS for each of the recommended plants on each species' page to be sure that they are compatible with your site.


Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Perennial herbaceous plants:

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

Annual herbaceous plants:

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel)

 Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

You can find more possibilities on the Alabama Recommended page.   You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option, using several different criteria such as Light Requirement, General Appearance, etc., to look for your preferred type of plant.


From the Image Gallery

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Texas bluegrass
Poa arachnifera

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

More Non-Natives Questions

Problem with acanthus in Vancouver BC
May 16, 2010 - My girlfriend's Mom just planted an Acanthus in her garden. In the morning, it apparently stands up tall, but in the evening it bends over until the the leaves are lying in the dirt. She's concerned...
view the full question and answer

Saving non-native sempervivum from accidental weed killer application from Nashville TN
June 15, 2012 - How to save a 'Live Forever' plant that had weed killer put on it by mistake.
view the full question and answer

Problems with tomatoes in tubs in Campbellton, TX
May 30, 2009 - I have my tomatoes planted in big black plastic tubs, they are starting to wilt and dry up. I have put Sevin dust on them for bugs. I haven't been over watering. Could you please tell me why they are...
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native sweet vernal grass, Anthoxanthum odoratum
June 24, 2010 - Hello there Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about growing Anthoxanthum odoratum known as sweet vernal grass. I'm trying to get Anthoxanthum odoratum, sweet vernal grass, to grow in my yard becau...
view the full question and answer

Are non-native Chinese pistache poisonous to alpacas from Galt CA
October 07, 2012 - Are Chinese Pistachio trees poisonous to alpacas?
view the full question and answer

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