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
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


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


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

Straggler daisy
Calyptocarpus vialis

Straggler daisy
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Groundcover for Critical Area Buffer Zone in Maryland
October 06, 2014 - Help RE: Maryland Critical Area Buffer Zone. Is there a low or no- mow grass native to Maryland that can be used in a Critical Area Buffer Zone. The area is Sunny/Clay. Or can you recommend a grou...
view the full question and answer

Restoring tornado-damaged property in Alexander City AL
January 29, 2012 - Dear Mr Smartypants, We were struck by the outbreak of tornadoes last spring and our wonderful woods are now unsightly sloping pastures with erosion problems.. many stumps and coils of roots. We are...
view the full question and answer

How does Habiturf spread from Walburg TX
May 19, 2014 - How does HabitTurf spread? - by seed only? - when/how often must you let it go to seed to insure a permanent stand?
view the full question and answer

Curvularia blight in buffalograss in Kansas
March 05, 2009 - Our buffalo grass is infected with a fungus called curvularia. How can we treat it?
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting non-native Zoysia grass in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Due to the extreme drought here in Austin this year and the watering restrictions our Zoysia lawn has suffered and appears to be dead in many areas of our lawn. Will it come back? Is there anything w...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center