Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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 - September 20, 2011

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Ferns, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native alternative for liriope
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for native alternatives to liriope for use in sun to part shade, moderate moisture planting beds. Would prefer evergreen options.

ANSWER:

Sedges would be a good choice.  They have a similar form to liriope, but without colorful flowers.  Many are evergreen and will grow in a combination of sun and shade.  Here are several that grow in the Washington DC area:

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) and here are more photos and information.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) and here are more photos and information.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) and here are more photos and information.

Here are some other choices for the DC area that are evergreen and are about the same size as liriope, although they don't have the same general shape:

Packera aurea (Golden ragwort) and here are more photos and information.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) and here are more photos and information.

Dryopteris cristata (Crested woodfern) and here are more photos and information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Crested woodfern
Dryopteris cristata

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Is Iva Angustifolia Salt Tolerant?
October 22, 2015 - I was wondering about the salt tolerance of narrow-leaf sumpweed (Iva angustifolia). It is the predominant species on a disturbed site in Haynesville, LA where brine contamination is in question. Un...
view the full question and answer

Turk's Cap not returning from Plano TX
April 02, 2014 - My Turk's Cap has shown no signs of coming back this year as of March 31. I pruned to about 12 inches because it was so bushy last year and it was not mulched thru our harsh winter (10 degree low and...
view the full question and answer

What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
August 09, 2011 - Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Where to find milkweeds and other butterfly favorites
March 07, 2016 - Our neighborhood in San Antonio is planning a big Arbor Day celebration. One of the events will focus on Monarch Butterflies. We will be releasing some live ones in our park and will have a booth th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.