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 - August 02, 2013

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Evergreen groundcover for full sun in Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Mr. Smartyplants, can you suggest a native, evergreen, full-sun groundcover that might thrive in zone 8a? We hope to find a mass planting that would look good beside Heuchera villosa 'autumn bride,' in nearby shade. This is for a memorial site. Thank you so much!


There are not too many possibilities but here are a few.  All are listed as evergreen or semi-evergreen, will grow in the sun and all grow in Alabama:

Antennaria plantaginifolia (Plantain-leaf pussytoes)  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden, Kansas Native Plants and Illinois Wildflowers.

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)   Here is more information from Ohio State University and Illinois Wildflowers.

Dryopteris cristata (Crested woodfern)  Here is more information from North Carolina State University.

Packera aurea (Golden ragwort)  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage)  Here is more information from Floridata.

Be sure to read the requirements for each plant under GROWING CONDITIONS on its species page and compare them to your site to check for compatibility.


From the Image Gallery

Plantain-leaf pussytoes
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Crested woodfern
Dryopteris cristata

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcover to prevent erosion in Florida
November 04, 2012 - I live on a hill and put in a new side driveway and now I am seeing erosion along the driveway and can see the bottom of my concrete. Grass won't grow because its all shaded. What would be the best g...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for heavy dog traffic in Huntsville TX
July 23, 2010 - We have recently moved to Huntsville, TX where our backyard is very shady and has only a small patch of St. Augustine grass and the rest is a dry, sand-like soil. We also have 2 Great Danes and 2 Pugs...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for morning sun in Pembroke MA
October 07, 2009 - Could you please suggest native groundcover,plants/shrubs/grasses for eastern facing slope which gets morning sun? It is my front yard which slopes down toward driveway so it would be a major focal po...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant ground cover for Midlothian, TX
June 17, 2012 - I'm looking for a fast, low ground cover. That is drought tolerant for a large slope.
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for a slope in MA
April 04, 2010 - We live in Eastern MA. We have a hill behind our house that was previously mulched. Slope is 45 degrees in direct sun, clay soil. We have another hill by the road side that is partially shaded with ...
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