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 - July 15, 2014

From: Loudon, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native Plants for a Steep Slope in TN
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Knoxville, TN and have a very steep slope in our backyard. There is a lot of water erosion causing our grass to be covered with red dirt. I would love to try to plant something on this bank to keep it from eroding. It would be wonderful to have nice grass in our backyard. I'm not sure it is even possible, but would take any advice you could give me on any native plants, shrubs or trees that could help.

ANSWER:

There's hope for you to have a great lawn in your backyard and a slope full of native wildlfowers too. The first place to go to find a list of potential slope plants for your backyard is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have put together an extensive database of plants and their characteristics for you to review.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: TN, Habit – Herb (for herbaceous), Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun, Soil Moisture – Dry (because of the steep slope), and Size – 0-6 feet. This search criteria will give you many native plants to consider, but not all of them are appropriate for a slope.

Some potential herbaceous slope plants include:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

Some potential shrubs for the slope are:

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Backward blooming Jack-in-the-pulpit
April 18, 2008 - why does my jack in the pulpit plant bloom backwards
view the full question and answer

Planting horsetail indoors from Collierville TN
November 12, 2012 - I would like to plant horsetail indoors. Can it handle the inside? Will it try to go dormant or it that a temperature trigger which means it will not go dormant?
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees?
January 18, 2016 - Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees? I know the Siberian Iris is tolerant but the scientific names are not the same yet everything I read indicates that blue eyed grass is not in the g...
view the full question and answer

Where can white prickly poppy be viewed en mass from Baton Rouge LA?
January 16, 2013 - Does the center feature the native White Prickly Poppy? When is prime blooming season? Can you give me some specific locations in the area where the plant can be seen en mass and photographed? Thank...
view the full question and answer

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