Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

Tuesday - May 27, 2014

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Groundcovers for North Central Texas
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a very large area that is in Palo Pinto County, Texas. We tried to plant grass but it never established. I'm looking for a ground cover that does well in shade (lots of oak tees) and is semi drought resistant. The soil is not the greatest, the red dirt which is common in Texas. I'm also looking for something with low pile for snake purposes. Any suggestions? I saw some of your recommendations but I'm not sure they can handle the heat and are low to the ground

ANSWER:

   Looks like you’re ahead of me!   This Mr Smarty Plants, as a matter of practice, check out the questions/answers that came before; and most of the time there is plenty of advice there already.  Is it these that you saw?

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth
[The recommended are all pretty much flowers and a bit tall]

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas 

Non-toxic Groundcover for North-Central Texas 

Shrubs, groundcovers, and grasses for shade in North Central Texas 

Groundcover and Butterfly attractants for LaRue Texas

 

Keeping it real low to dissuade the snakes, consider these groundcovers and low flowers:

Pure groundcovers:  Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy), Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit), Allium canadense (Meadow garlic), Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge), Dichondra argentea (Silver ponyfoot)

Flowers:  Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena), Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet), Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba (Poppy mallow), Rivina humilis (Pigeonberry)

As natives, these should all be able to handle the heat by itself.  The combination of heat and drought is pretty rough on everything, so its a bit of a toss-up whether they survive. Our frogfruit dies back in the winter and heat/drought of summer  but happily comes right back again.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Meadow garlic
Allium canadense

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Silver ponyfoot
Dichondra argentea

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Missouri violet
Viola missouriensis

White poppymallow
Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba

Pigeonberry
Rivina humilis

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcovers for Shade Under a Sweetgum
March 25, 2015 - I have 3 large sweetgum trees that produce so much shade each summer, and grass, even grass meant for shade, won't grow here. It's become a barren desert! I have English ivy but it only seems to gro...
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

Destructive landscape crews in The Woodlands TX
October 20, 2012 - Hi. We need help. We recently moved to a house where landscape crews have been blowing away the leaf litter from the front yard for many years. The underbrush was also cleared long ago. The result...
view the full question and answer

Wisconsin Ground Cover for Acid Soil
July 09, 2012 - What type of native wisconsin ground cover plants do best on acidic bare areas under pine trees such as blue spruce?...and where is best source for these plants or seeds? Thanks so much for your help
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a sunny location
April 20, 2011 - Looking for Native ground cover for sunny slope in LaRue TX I would like something that will cover year-round and flower in Spring/Summer/Fall. If it has a berry in the fall for birds and attracts bu...
view the full question and answer

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