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 - October 08, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is straggler daisy deer resistant from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Is straggler daisy (horseherb) deer resistant? We have lots of deer in our NW Hills, Austin neighborhood, and a lot of shade where not much will grow. Is that plant a good candidate for ground cover where there are deer?


Please follow this plant link, Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy), to our webpage on it, where you will learn it is a fast-growing, nice low ground groundcover that can tolerate moderate foot traffic. It is native to Travis County, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map, so that means it should not use too many resources, like water, and certainly not fertilizer. What you will not learn is whether or not it is deer resistant, because we don't know. We have a deer-resistant species list, and you should read this statement:

"Deer Resistant Species

Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

However, this is a very sturdy plant, easily spread to the point that many gardeners consider it a weed. We could hope that either it will be so low that the deer won't eat it, or they won't be able to eat it faster than it can spread. Even so, they will be eating something that you didn't have to spend a lot of money on, or a lot of time caring for it. We would think it would be worth a try, at least distracting the deer from plants that are more valuable to you.


From the Image Gallery

Calyptocarpus vialis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Calyptocarpus vialis

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for under Oak Trees in LA.
March 05, 2013 - What type of plants and grass can be planted under and around oak trees
view the full question and answer

Ornamental plants for under live oaks
September 08, 2008 - What ornamental plant will do well under Live Oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Tree and vine for shade and privacy
June 03, 2008 - We recently added a deck in our backyard which faces west, we live in Circle C (southwest Austin). The afternoon sun is intense so we're looking to plant something along our fence line to provide sh...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade under pine trees in Grapevine TX
May 16, 2010 - What plants are good to put under pine trees in the shade? I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area? The previous owners stuck a Japanese Maple in there that seems to be ok and some sort of holly bush (n...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance grass for shade in Conroe, TX
September 15, 2012 - What is the best low maintenance grass to plant in front lawn shaded, no traffic area?
view the full question and answer

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