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?

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
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

Tuesday - July 02, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for a slope in San Antonio TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Slope growing, no or little irrigation ground cover. The slope is probably greater than 30%. The area is currently a construction road at the base, cut into the hill. To re-establish with a ground cover that would be short enough not to need mowing. Pedestrians walk through the area so a short growth plant for safety. Prefer a bedding plant vs. grass.

ANSWER:

It would be helpful to know whether the area is in sun (more than 6 hours of sun a day), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun per day).  Since I don't know the sun situation on the slope, please be sure to read the information on GROWING CONDITIONS on each of the species pages that I recommend.

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena) grows only 6-12 inches tall and has blooms from March through December.

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) is semi-evergreen and is usually a sprawling plant.

Wedelia texana (Zexmenia) should be evergreen in San Antonio.   It blooms from June through November.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) is semi-evergreen and usually grows to less than 1 foot.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is semi-evergreen and blooms May to October.

You might consider using one of the sedges.  There are species that grow to less than 1 foot high and do well without irrigation after they are established.   Here is more information about sedges from McNeal Growers in Austin.  Here are two that are native to Bexar County:

Carex perdentata (Meadow sedge) grows in sun to about 8 inches high.

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) grows best in part shade to 6 inches high.

Using a combination of plants is your best bet.  That way you will learn what will grow best on your slope and a mix of heights and colors will make the area more interesting.   Any of the plants above will require irrigation to become established. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Zexmenia
Wedelia texana

Straggler daisy
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Meadow sedge
Carex perdentata

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

More Groundcovers Questions

Removing bermudagrass from buffalograss in Smithville TX
May 01, 2013 - I have a lawn created two years ago with buffalo grass sod in Smithville, TX. Recently several areas of bermudagrass have started to flourish in the buffalo grass lawn. Can you recommend a herbicide...
view the full question and answer

Strong groundcover for Southern California
March 28, 2012 - Need a strong ground cover. Hard time getting anything to grow. Full sun. Prefer some color. Low upkeep. The soil probably isn't great. It is a small hill within a planter.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover that won't hide snakes from Asheville NC
June 29, 2012 - I have an unusual situation: several bare areas in an otherwise wooded area, which receive partial sun, and are not near water -- it rains here frequently, but the soil can become quite dry at times. ...
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcover for High Activity Location in Austin, TX
October 01, 2010 - Howdy! We live in South Austin and have a smallish backyard that we're perennially working on. We have two young, very active dogs that spend a lot of time RUNNING and we never can keep ground cover ...
view the full question and answer

Native ground cover for Houston
March 02, 2009 - I'm interested in finding native ground cover, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a steep slope along Soldiers Creek. Currently there is Jasmine, ivy, prairie spiderwort...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center