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
5 ratings

Tuesday - November 01, 2011

From: Watauga, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low

ANSWER:

Here are several groundcovers that will grow in the shade.  Except for the two grasses, they are semi-evergreen or evergreen.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) is evergreen to semi-evergreen. "Evergreen in areas with mild or no winter, deciduous in areas with cold winters."

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is semi-evergreen.

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) is evergreen to semi-evergreen.

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) is evergreen.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) dies back in winter but is perennial.  This grass grows in clumps and can reach 2 feet or more, but is very attractive.

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill) dies back in winter but is perennial.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Why are there no low-mow lawn grasses composed of only native fescues?
September 09, 2014 - Dear SP, Most blends of ecograss I see are a combination of non-native and native fescues (and sometimes buffalo grass, blue grama, etc.). Why are there (apparently) none that are composed entirely of...
view the full question and answer

Green wall panel for Dallas
August 21, 2007 - We are working on a green wall panel for a hotel near SMU--I see your list of recommended species for green roofs, & wondered if you have any ideas for vertical applications. Probably will have someth...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a steep slope in New York
June 27, 2010 - We just installed a swimming pool in our back yard, which is at the top of a south facing slope. After the pool was installed the slope is now 3 ft higher and very steep (unmowable). I'd guess steepe...
view the full question and answer

Controlling switchgrass in Fredericksburg TX
June 12, 2010 - How do you kill switch grass..too much has grown on our property. Originally planted to stop erosion due to oak wilted trees lost on hill behind house, which worked,but now it is everywhere.
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
view the full question and answer

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