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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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Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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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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Monday - March 09, 2015

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need ground cover plants to grow in the shade a large oak in San Antonio, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a large backyard in San Antonio covered with live oak and red oak. Since grass does not do well in this shade / bright shade area I would like to plant a low growing ground cover and then add Turks cap for interest. If needs to be deer resistant if possible. Can you suggest any low ground covers (under a foot tall)?

ANSWER:

Lets start by looking at our Native Plant Database.  Click on this link, and scroll down to the Combination Search box. Select Texas under State, herb under Habit, and Perennial under Duration. Check Part shade under Light requirement, Dry under Soil moisture, and 0 - 1 ft under Height. Click on the Submit combination Search button, and you will get a list of 71 plant species that fit these criteria, and are native to Texas. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that contains a description of the plant, its characteristics and growth requirements, and in most cases, photos. You can repeat the search, this time selecting grass or grass like under Habit. See what happens if you check Shade under light requirement.

Mr. Smarty Plants has been doing this a while, and he is going to give you links to a couple of previously answered questions:

10310 

#   9838

These answers have links to other previously answered questions, so in a sense, you have tapped into the accumulated wisdom of Mr. Smarty Plants.

Compare the plants from the links and the Database with this list of Deer Resistant Species .

 

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