Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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
37 ratings

Thursday - May 24, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native groundcovers to replace non-native St. Augustine
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in west Travis County just south of Lake Austin. My backyard is very shady and does not drain well. I want to spend some time and effort landscaping it. I have thought about Amerishade St. Augustine grass in some areas. Do you have suggestions for plants or ground cover in the areas that are mostly shady? I would be particularly interested in anything that would work well near the St Augustine.

ANSWER:

Because St. Augustine grass required much more irrigation than other grasses, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does not recommend its use at all. While it is more shade-tolerant than many other grasses, there are native groundcovers that may work better for you in the long run and require much less water. Shade-loving native groundcovers you might consider are: Straggler daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis), Texas sedge (Carex texensis), and Cedar sedge (Carex planostachys). Some other shade-loving native plants are Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Red Columbine, (Aquilegia canadensis), Cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana), and Heart-leaf Skullcap (Scutellaria ovata).
 

More Groundcovers Questions

Need ground cover plants to grow in the shade a large oak in San Antonio, TX
March 09, 2015 - 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...
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

Groundcover for Laredo Texas
July 04, 2011 - I am in Laredo, TX and no longer want to waste water on grass. I would like to pull it all out and plant native, drought resistant ground cover - low growing, between 6-12 inches, sun and partial sha...
view the full question and answer

Deer proof ground cover for sunny area in Mississippi
June 09, 2012 - I am looking for a low ground cover that will thrive in a sunny location and is deer proof
view the full question and answer

Flowering Shade Plant for California
February 21, 2016 - I have a house north facing that has a "flower bed" in front that unfortunately is shaded 100% of the time. There are roses in the bed currently (they came with the house) but they do poorly. We are...
view the full question and answer

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