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?


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

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

Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
June 03, 2010 - I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
view the full question and answer

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

Shrub or Vine for NH Slope
May 11, 2013 - I'm looking for a native plant/shrub/vine that can be used to control erosion on a relatively steep slope in New Hampshire. Do you know of any?
view the full question and answer

Eliminating wood roaches from hardwood mulch from San Antonio TX
February 05, 2013 - How can I eliminate the numerous wood roaches in my hardwood mulch that I get for free from the city of San Antonio?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for steep hill in Georgia
May 04, 2009 - We have a large steep hill with only clay and rocks on it in the North Georgia Mountain area. What is a good Native ground covering to put on this for erosion? Something that grows fast preferably. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center