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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 - August 02, 2013

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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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


Woman's tobacco
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

Dense groundcover for full sun on the California coast.
November 08, 2011 - Can you recommend a very dense ground cover that serves as a lawn (in full sun on the coast, pref. drought resistant)? Many thanks in advance.
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Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
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Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
January 25, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
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Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
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Lawn for a Shady & Wet area in Austin, TX
July 22, 2015 - We have a drainage area that has appeared in our back yard since the neighbors’ homes were built. When we get heavy rains (like this year) all their drainage flows into our back yard and forms a river...
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