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

Saturday - September 15, 2012

From: Conroe, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Low maintenance grass for shade in Conroe, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the best low maintenance grass to plant in front lawn shaded, no traffic area?

ANSWER:

We think this may be what we call a "dream plant." We have correspondents that give us all the characteristics of their particular garden, and then ask for such things as low maintenance, deer resistant, evergreen, ever-blooming and on and on. Obviously, you are not asking for that much, but we don't have the ability to custom design a plant.

Shade is going to be the biggest problem. Most grasses for shade are non-native and not well adapted to Texas; for instance, St. Augustine. This is a water slurping grass that is  high maintenance and native to Africa. You may need to rethink "lawn," for something more practical and xeric.

Because we find ourselves answering very similar questions over and over, we would like for you to read these previous questions, all on native ground covers and all from Texas. The plants on some of those lists may not be appropriate to Southeast Texas, but the text concerns the same problems you have, shade, low maintenance, etc. Follow each link to the previous question; some have additional links you may find informative.

Conroe TX

LaRue TX

Runaway Bay TX

Anson TX

Next, let us introduce you to our Recommended Species section. On the map, click on Southeast Texas, which includes Montgomery County. This will give you a list of 117 species that should do well in your part of Texas. Be sure and read the description of the ecology of that part of the state. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on the plant and there find out its growing conditions, water needs, expected heights, etc. You can do the same with plants links in the previous questions above, remembering to compare the information on each plant with the situation you have in your own garden. I think you will find very few, or none, low groundcovers for shade, so you may want to consider some of the suggestions made in other previous questions, such as decomposed granite and mulch, instead of "lawn."

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Non-native daylilies and pachysandra in same area from New York City
April 07, 2012 - Will daylilies and pachysandra thrive if planted in the same bed, or will they harm each other?
view the full question and answer

Optimal time for trimming Fall asters
July 04, 2014 - RE: fall asters What is the latest date in the summer that I can trim my fall asters and still get a good amount of blooms in October?
view the full question and answer

Information on non-native caladiums from Austin
June 21, 2012 - Have you a leaflet on growing caladiums in the Austin area?
view the full question and answer

Cedar sage not blooming in pots in Austin
September 14, 2012 - I have cedar sage (salvia roemeriana) in containers on a dappled-shade apartment patio in Austin, TX. This is their first season here, transplanted in May (it's now September). All the plants have be...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth TX
June 28, 2012 - I live in Tarrant county, where summer droughts are the norm. I have a 150x50 foot swathe of mature "fruitless mulberry" trees, which create a very shady atmosphere. The soil is clay dominated, ro...
view the full question and answer

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