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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.

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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.

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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!

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Friday - March 29, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Vines
Title: South Austin Groundcovers for Oak Shade
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Hi! I live in S. Austin now but used to work at the Wildflower Center! My backyard is shady with several oak mots. Do you have any suggestions as to what if any ground cover will grow in all that shade? Thanks, Peggy Budd

ANSWER:

Greetings Peggy,   Yes, Mr Smarty Plants remembers you fondly.   [Mrs Smarty Plants too!]

We've got lots of suggestions.  Your question is one of those on our top ten list, so I’m going to  refer you to a few of the better answers from the recent past.  Several of those refer to even earlier questions, so I expect you can easily find a few suggestions from this body of work that will be pleasing to you in your S. Austin lawn. 

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
Sunny and shady lawns from Austin 
Groundcover for Austin yard
Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
Groundcovers for Kingsland TX

 My favorites are in the pictures below!

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Tievine
Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Small, drought and shade-tolerant perennials for Austin, Texas
March 22, 2010 - We need suggestions for small, drought- and shade-tolerant perennials to be planted in Austin, Texas, please.
view the full question and answer

Screen plants for part shade in Smithville, TX
February 23, 2010 - Thank you very much for your reply to my question about planting bamboo. I had no idea it was so invasive. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for me. My goal is to provide a soft an...
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Grasses for yard in part shade and shade
January 11, 2009 - I have a shady yard with no grass whatsoever in San Marcos, TX. Since there are no roots to anchor the soil, the air (and the house) is full of dust. I want to plant a native grass that does well in f...
view the full question and answer

Grass to grow in the shade of pecan tree
December 10, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We have an enormous pecan tree in our backyard that had grass underneath the breadth of the branches, but not around the trunk. The grass isn't doing well (though we did fai...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in New Jersey
September 21, 2008 - hi ,i live in rahway nj and i was wondering what are good plant and shrubs to plant for this area. we are doing all new landscaping and we have alot of shade areas. we like the ornamental grasses but ...
view the full question and answer

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