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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 11, 2012

From: amherst, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Drought-resistant ground cover for Massachusetts
Answered by: Guy Thompson


Mr Smarty Plants I am looking for drought resistant,low maintenance ground cover for a LEED certified project in Florence MA. Any suggestions?


My best suggestions would be Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry) and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick).  Both of these species are slow-growing and require moisture while getting established.  Another possibility is Viola pedata (Birdfoot violet).  For an extra bit of color here and there, consider trying Waldsteinia fragarioides (Appalachian barren strawberry).

   Late lowbush blueberry is available here and Kinnininnick from a west coast nursery.  The violet and strawberry can be purchased at this nursery.  Other more local nurseries may also have these plants.



From the Image Gallery

Late lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Birdfoot violet
Viola pedata

Appalachian barren strawberry
Waldsteinia fragarioides

More Groundcovers Questions

Replacing a Grass Lawn with Moss
January 02, 2010 - I have a small north facing yard that I would like to change from grass to moss. There is some moss now but still lots of grass. I need to rake a lot of leaves in the fall but want to get away from a ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for shade under oaks in San Antonio
May 04, 2013 - I have been modifying my landscape to reduce grass and the need for frequent watering. Have turned half the backyard into native plants garden with hardscape and sitting areas. Have 2 mature Monterey ...
view the full question and answer

Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
July 04, 2014 - Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question ...
view the full question and answer

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center