Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - February 25, 2007

From: Snyder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Low maintenance, attractive ground cover for yard in Snyder, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in West Texas, I just bought a couple of lots that have had nothing grown on them in about 45 years, except what looks like small clumps of weed /grass, not sure. I would like to have my front yard in some kind of evergreen, low growing, brightly flowered, low water, low maintenance ground cover that will thrive in full sun. There will be no traffic or animals etc. Do you have any suggestions for this area. I would love for folks driving by to look twice, (near an interstate)! Thanks.

ANSWER:

That's a pretty big order—evergreen, low-growing, brightly flowered, low water, low maintenance! Well, you aren't going to get all those features in one plant, but we can give you some ideas for combinations. Here is one plant Louisiana Sagewort or Prairie Sage (Artemesia ludoviciana) that will remain evergreen if mowed in the fall (according to Sally Wasowski and Andy Wasowski, Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region By Region), plus it grows in any soil in full sun and with little water. it doesn't, however, have spectacular flowers

The following plants are "almost evergreen" depending on the severity of the winter frosts and they do meet your other criteria fairly well.
Yellow Zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora)
Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)
Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
Sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri)
Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea)
Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

You also might consider using Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides, synonym=Buchloe dactyloides) in some areas. Although buffalo grass is not evergreen, it is low maintenance, loves the sun and requires little water. You can read more about buffalo grass from Texas A&M University.

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Santa Fe orchard groundcovers
September 05, 2008 - Howdy We were wondering what kind of ground cover you would suggest to use in a sunny area that has a few new apple trees [7' high]. The area is about 80' x 100 '. The soil is clay & was used to ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers over roots in Roeland Park KS
June 18, 2013 - Large Hackberry tree (aprox 50+years) roots are popping up above ground making mowing under/around it impossible. Is there a plant, ground cover, something I can plant, or cover the roots with that w...
view the full question and answer

Native Grasses for Houston, TX
April 06, 2015 - What native grasses can I use for my lawn in Houston, TX? It appears that Habiturf is not recommended for our climate. Is there another variety of seed available yet that I can use to start a small ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive chickweed in Collegeville PA
December 31, 2011 - My problem is chickweed. I have found considerable information on how to eliminate the chickweed. My question is after following a suggested elimination process: How and when do I reseed with grass?...
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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.