En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - January 28, 2012

From: New York, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Finding Connecticut grasses on website from NY City
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Your site w/ all its varied aids are great, and your answers are so helpful, so I don't want to seem critical with this question. I trained as a landscape architect in the Northeast 20 years ago and increasingly am interested in using native plant species. I'm teaching a planting design class at a university, in which we only use natives, the better to learn about habitat, communities, etc. I'm now a plant consultant at a landscape architecture firm in nyc. I don't like to specify plants that I don't know well, and the best way to get to know plants, of course, is to grow them. We have a small yard in Old Lyme, CT, a village on the LI sound, which is my laboratory. I want to grow a number of CT native grasses in the sunny front yard this summer. One of my first steps of research was to check your website's list of recommended grass species for CT. To my surprise, only 3 were listed. But when I have checked other individual grasses on your website, I learn that the grass I'm looking up is also a CT native. Am I just doing something wrong in my use of the recommended species page? It would be wonderful if I could get a list of all graminoids native to CT in one place. Can you suggest such a place? Is it possible that your site will be that place in the not-too-distant future? I know websites take time and effort to build; I'm not impatient, just don't want to be missing something if it's out there. Again, thank you for all your help in the past, and doubtless, in the future.

ANSWER:

We are very glad you are finding our website useful, we're pretty proud of it ourselves. And may we salute you for turning to native plants and incorporating that into your classes. That's what we are here for, is to turn one person at a time to the correct native plantings for an area and its moisture, soils and light. As each person influences others, we will come closer to our goal of conservation of resources, including breathable air and drinkable water. Thanks again!

You are correct, our website is a moving target, and we are improving and adding to it constantly. What you need to do instead of going to Recommended Species in our website is to go the our Native Plant Database. Using the Combination Search function, search for "Grasses/Grass-like" on General Appearance, Connecticut (obviously) for the state, and in the same search can specify for height, light needs, moisture needs, preferred soils, etc. When you submit on Combination Search, just using the state and habit selections, you will get 381 listings. Narrowing it down with additional specifications will make the list more manageable and you can follow each plant link to our webpage on that grass.

From that list, here are some of our favorite grasses, although we have never gardened in Connecticut, these are specified as native to that state and should do well.

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Calamagrostis canadensis (Bluejoint)

Carex hystericina (Bottlebrush sedge)

Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted hairgrass)

Elymus villosus (Hairy wildrye)

Hordeum jubatum (Foxtail barley)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Tridens flavus (Purpletop tridens)

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Bluejoint
Calamagrostis canadensis

Bottlebrush sedge
Carex hystericina

Tufted hairgrass
Deschampsia cespitosa

Hairy wildrye
Elymus villosus

Foxtail barley
Hordeum jubatum

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Nimblewill
Muhlenbergia schreberi

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Purpletop tridens
Tridens flavus

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native bamboos from Scroggins TX
December 16, 2012 - Can you please recommend a NATIVE bamboo for NE Tx? We live in the Piney Woods in a lake community.
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
September 23, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that wi...
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of rain, oxblood, and copper lily bulbs
November 30, 2012 - I have Rain Lily, Oxblood Lily, and Copper Lily bulbs out of the ground, that are putting out some green growth. I would like to plant them soon. Is it okay to plant now and in December, or do I hav...
view the full question and answer

Indiangrass by seed or plugs in Greenville SC
October 18, 2009 - Mr Smarty Plants, is it better to establish Indiangrass by plugs or seed? Seems you would get much quicker coverage by seed, tending to choke out "strangers". I'm establishing a small native mea...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center