En Español

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

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

Monday - November 19, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Want a ground cover instead of St. Augustine to fill in gaps in stone pathway.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I'm considering using Silver Ponyfoot (instead of St. Augustine) to fill in the 6" gaps between my 24"x24" cut limestone blocks footpath and patio. Do they run long that may cover the blocks, which require me to trim (edge) around each block all the time? Thanks,


Mr. Smarty Plants concurs your intent avoid using St. Augustine to fill the gaps between your limestone blocks. To me Silver Pony foot Dichondra argentea (Silver ponyfoot)is a good choice, but as you read in the links below, it can produce runners up to 4’ in a year. This may be more trimming than you want to do, but its better that mowing St. Augustine.



Another possibility is a ground cover called Horse Herb Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy). From the links below, you can see that it has its proponents and detractors. It is fast growing and is considered invasive by some.



A third possibility is a native perennial ground cover called Frog Fruit Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit).


Any plant that is growing in the gaps is going to require some maintenance. You will have to choose the best looking, low maintenance plant you can find.


From the Image Gallery

Silver ponyfoot
Dichondra argentea

Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Information about Cedar Sage from Austin
March 11, 2011 - I am new to the Austin area and was wondering about cedar sage (salvia roemeriana). Is this plant considered aromatic, non-aromatic of chia? And, other than the edible flower are other parts of the ...
view the full question and answer

Finding a source of Straggler daisy
October 14, 2015 - I've decided on Straggler daisy but am having trouble finding it. It would be perfect for me. Do I have to wait until next Spring for it to show up? Can it be ordered through a nursery or a landscape...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaf problem with herbaceous blooming plants from Greenfield MA
May 28, 2014 - I have 3 plants cimicifuga brunette and lots of astile planted near each other. Suddenly the edges of leaves have turned brown and shriveled and spread to entire plant, all of them. It has not been ...
view the full question and answer

Standing Cypress Plants in San Antonio, TX
June 26, 2013 - I purchased seeds for standing cypress 2 years ago and this spring they look beautiful. What is the best way to harvest the seeds? Also, will the current plants come back next spring or will I have to...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center