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?

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

Friday - March 15, 2013

From: Waco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants thinks “best” is a bit too dependent on what you want from the grass or groundcover to just give you an answer and think it would be definitive.    Of course, you have required “shade-tolerant” and as you asked “Mr Smarty Plants”  – The Wildlflower Centers bias towards native plant solutions will be considered necessary.

  A good start is to consider our “Recommended” collections.  It turns out – We actually do have a collection for "Plants for Dry Shade in Central Texas". Of course, this list has all sorts of plants, not just grasses and ground-covers, but you can then limit the selection to those and review the results.

  Another of my favorite ways is to scan the  previous Mr Smarty Plants answers.  Interestingly, there seem to be none from Waco specifically, but then there are lots from Texas towns that are middlin’ close.

Groundcover for vineyard from Round Rock, TX
Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
Groundcovers for Kingsland TX
Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
Native turf grasses for shady lawn
Tough grasses for shade
Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
Native grasses or sedges for a border in Texas

There’s lots of additional information in those, but scanning them for consistency, the most recommended grasses are Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) and Carex texensis (Texas sedge), and the most recommended ground-covers are Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) and Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit).  That should give you the spirit of "most popular"!

Hope this is usefull!   MSP

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Groundcovers Questions

Habiturf for East Texas
May 14, 2012 - We live in east Texas, right on the beginning of the piney words, the soil is a little sandy. We have taken up a wooden walkway but can't get anything to grow there. Could the soil be dead from year ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a dry slope in PA
May 23, 2013 - My side yard is a slope with rocky (a lot of small serpentine rocks) soil under white and black pine trees. I can grow lots of weeds :-) but would like to plant a low (0-3in) evergreen ground cover th...
view the full question and answer

Locating free tumbled glass for mulch in Austin
October 31, 2008 - Do you know where tumbled glass can be obtained for free in Austin? You've used it as a mulch at the Center. Someone in one of my Native U classes mentioned that it can be gotten free somewhere in ...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic Groundcover for North-Central Texas
April 07, 2011 - I need a creeping ground cover for shade that is non-toxic to dogs. I had planned on Swedish ivy until I read it was toxic. Is Asian jasmine toxic? Or, do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

What will grow in red clay in Conroe TX?
April 10, 2011 - We just built a new home and the foundation was poured on red clay which is what my flowerbed area is in. Could you please tell me what can be planted that will grow. I am looking for ground cover, fl...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center