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
1 rating

Monday - April 02, 2012

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Fast Growing Ground Cover for Sun in San Antonio
Answered by: Mike Tomme


What is the fastest growing ground cover for San Antonio Texas (predominantly sunny)?


Here is a recent Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a question similar to yours. In brief, this answer recommends several native sedges (genus Carex) and two other native plants. Since you are interested in fast growing and sedges are likely to be a bit slow, I will focus on the other two.

The first is a personal favorite of this Mr. Smarty Plants, Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) aka horseherb, lawnflower, or creeping Cinderella (in Australia). This plant will do best in shade or partial shade, but does well in sun. In addition to fast growth, it has a couple of things going for it: it is attractive, with bright green foliage and tiny, yellow, daisy-like flowers, and it is readily available. Unless your yard is very well manicured, you probably already have patches of it growing somewhere. You don't have to buy it, just dig some up, divide it and replant where you want it.

The second plant is Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit). This plant is very tolerant of sun and is fast growing. It produces tiny white flowers. Like straggler daisy, you can probably find some growing wild in your area.

Both of these palnts are native to central Texas and well adapted to our heat, drought and occasional floods. Both will go dormant in most winters, but come right back when things warm up.


From the Image Gallery

Calyptocarpus vialis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Groundcovers Questions

Native ground cover for Houston
March 02, 2009 - I'm interested in finding native ground cover, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a steep slope along Soldiers Creek. Currently there is Jasmine, ivy, prairie spiderwort...
view the full question and answer

Strip Groundcover for Austin, TX
February 19, 2015 - I live in a condo in Austin (near N Lamar and North Loop), and am on the HOA board. There is a small strip of land along the back of the units, used mostly for access for maintenance - it ranges from ...
view the full question and answer

Possible ground covers under pine trees in Illinois
April 18, 2006 - Have pine trees in front of house. No luck with the lawn around them....was told it's because of ground acidity. Any tips on how to get a lawn to grow there? If not, can you suggest some ground cover...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for sunny yard in New Jersey
July 23, 2008 - Hi. I'm looking for ground cover for a mostly sunny section of my yard. The ground we are looking to cover is next to a slight hill with in a few feet of an in ground pool. I would like something tha...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance, native plants for sloping drive near Philadelphia
October 20, 2004 - My cabin is located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. I am looking for low maintenance plants that would look good on the sides of a driveway that slopes upward. This is a potential project fo...
view the full question and answer

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