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

Monday - February 06, 2012

From: Vista, CA
Region: California
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun and shade. Any suggestions for a low maintenance, drought tolerant ground cover that can handle foot traffic. It is a patio used for entertaining. Thank you

ANSWER:

I'm guessing that DG = Decomposed Granite (I ruled out disgruntled gravel).

One approach is to go to our Native Plant Database and scroll down to the Combination Search Box. Select California under State, Herb under Habit, and Perennial  under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement, Dry under Soil moisture, and 0-1ft under Height. Click the Submit Combination Search Button and you will get a list of 28 native species that meet these criteria. Clicking  on the scientific name of each species will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant along with growth requirements and images. Repeat  the search and substitute Grass/grass-like for herb, and you will get a list of 5 grasses that might be used.  These aren’t all suitable for growing between flagstones, but there are some that you might

Herbs
Antennaria parvifolia (Small-leaf pussytoes)

Eriogonum douglasii (Douglas' buckwheat)  

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) 

Grasses

Dasyochloa pulchella (Fluff grass) 

Erioneuron pilosum (Hairy woollygrass)  

Scleropogon brevifolius (Burrograss)

If the DG is level with the tops of the stones, you may want to dig out some of it and replace it with soil to enhance the plant growth.

 

From the Image Gallery


Small-leaf pussytoes
Antennaria parvifolia

Douglas' buckwheat
Eriogonum douglasii

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Fluff grass
Dasyochloa pulchella

Hairy woollygrass
Erioneuron pilosum

Burrograss
Scleropogon brevifolius

More Groundcovers Questions

Help with control of small, invasive groundcover
April 16, 2012 - I have a very invasive ground cover creeping into my yard. I've tried to identify it and it's similar to creeping charlie or garlic mustard. Leaves are triangular with jagged edges, small purple f...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Lighthouse Point FL
April 13, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I am looking for mowable ground cover for part of my back yard. Due to a Mahogany tree, a hammock, surrounding foliage and a fence, there is alot of shade in the area, alon...
view the full question and answer

Lawn Options for Saginaw, MI
April 09, 2015 - I'm looking for a low maintenance, high traffic lawn alternative. Will Texas Frogfruit handle the winter? My yard is small so covering it is an option.
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for steep slope under large oak in East Texas
May 17, 2009 - I live in Longview and have a slope on the west side of my house that is eroding. There is a large 18-20 y-o oak tree that shades half the slope. The slope itself is too steep to safely/easily mow. ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Orange County, California
August 05, 2012 - What ground cover do you suggest for an Orange Co., CA, backyard with a steep slope in 3-4 hours of sun? Needs to grow fast to beat the weeds. Something pretty would be nice! Thanks
view the full question and answer

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