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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - October 02, 2012

From: Lubbock , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover for rock garden under large oak
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am planning a small rock garden under a large oak tree. I would like a spreading evergreen ground cover that will grow in the shade. Drought-tolerant would be preferred as I live in the high plains of Texas (Lubbock). We are now on water-rationing. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

 Here are some low-growing plants that are native to the Panhandle of Texas that will grow in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day).  I wasn't able to find any groundcover-type plants that are native to the Panhandle that grow in dry full shade (less than 2 hours sun per day).  These that grow in part shade should be able to grow in the shade, but they probably won't flower as much as they would in the sun.

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena) grows in part shade and sun.

Hedeoma drummondii (Drummond's false pennyroyal) grows in part shade.

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy) grows in part shade and sun.

Pectis angustifolia (Limoncillo) grows in part shade.

Portulaca pilosa (Chisme) grows in part shade and sun.

Quincula lobata (Purple groundcherry) grows in part shade and sun.

Scutellaria resinosa (Resin-dot skullcap) grows in part shade.

Tradescantia occidentalis (Prairie spiderwort) grows in part shade and sun. 

Zinnia grandiflora (Rocky mountain zinnia) grows in part shade.

You can search for other possibilities on the Texas-High Plains Recommended list.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose the criteria for the plants you want.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Drummond's false pennyroyal
Hedeoma drummondii

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Limoncillo
Pectis angustifolia

Kiss me quick
Portulaca pilosa

Purple groundcherry
Quincula lobata

Resin-dot skullcap
Scutellaria resinosa

Prairie spiderwort
Tradescantia occidentalis

Plains zinnia
Zinnia grandiflora

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