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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 20, 2013

From: Newnan, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Groundcovers, Wildflowers
Title: Deer Resistant, Fast Growing Groundcover Suggestions for Georgia
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Our driveway is 1/4 mile in length and is steep on both sides (one side up one side down). It currently has grass that our contractor planted using seed when we built our house. We are unable to cut the grass due to physical limitations since it is too steep for a lawnmower. We are looking for a perennial ground cover that is 1) a Georgia native, 2) fast spreading, 3) deer resistant, 4) that will grow in full sun or partial sun, and 5) needs no watering as water is not available that far from the house. I would prefer some type of bloom of any color but, it is not mandatory. Grasses that are no maintenance would also work. It would also be impossible for us to till the clay soil on these steep hillsides so ease of taking root is a necessity. I have searched the Mr. Smarty Pants database and found a phlox but, it sounds like the seeds are doubtful to come up and otherwise, I would have to plant each plant individually. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Georgia, Habit – herb, Duration – perennial, Light Requirement – sun and part shade, Soil Moisture – dry, Height – 0-1 ft. Additionally you can narrow down your search further by flower color and blooming times. When you have about a dozen possibilities, take a look at the deer resistant list and see which plants are mentioned.

Three native plants to be considered follow:

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) sun or shade tolerant, takes some moderate foot traffic, 6-12 inches tall, yellow blooms spring-fall. Easy to propagate by cuttings or division on your own. Low water use.

Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe (Southern green and gold)  Low maintenance, low groundcover for dappled shade. Yellow blooms in spring. Good for dry, fast draining soils.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) Vigorous spreader, drought tolerant, white blooms in summer, full sun or part shade. Deer resistant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Southern green and gold
Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Wildflowers Questions

Sunflower with large, thick, fuzzy leaves
February 03, 2005 - Hello Smarty Plants: I live in Green Mt. NC and am a Master Gardener Volunteer in Buncombe County (Asheville). In summer several years ago we visited a garden which had a beautiful sunflower with lar...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflower seeds in Texas in February
February 04, 2010 - I would like to plant some wildflowers this month - February. I have planted some bluebonnets and they will "bloom" in March/April. Would there be any wildflowers that would also bloom in Marc...
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of Mexican bush sage in USDA Zone 7
September 25, 2006 - I have a Mexican Sage (salvia). I need to know the care of it especially because it is a gift and the plant is about 5 ft. With the weather and the red clay I don't know if I could plant it or just ...
view the full question and answer

Neighborhood association wanting wildflowers mowed from Grand Prairie TX
July 14, 2013 - For at least 15 years, I have been fostering growth of wildflowers in 60% of my 90x400' yard which include 150' utility trunkline easement in which I can plant no trees. This year, we had volunteer ...
view the full question and answer

When is best time to plant seeds of Texas Nightshade in San Antonio, TX?
September 20, 2014 - I need to know the time to plant seeds of Texas Nightshade. Can I plant them now ( August ), or wait till fall or spring?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center