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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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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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Friday - July 08, 2016

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for a moist, shady spot in central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I am looking for a plant that will grow in almost full shade with plenty of moisture along a fence. We are looking at putting down some flagstone with possibly some moss growing in between, but we don't want it to take over the St. Augustine that is in the rest of the lawn. Thank you!

ANSWER:

I guess that you are looking for plants that are relatively low-growing near the flagstones.  If you go to our Native Plant Database page and click on Combination Search you can enter the parameters that suit your needs and get a list of species that may be suitable.

I have taken a few species from that listing that I know do well in central Texas.  Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage)Aquilegia chrysantha (Golden columbine)Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine)Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)Scutellaria ovata (Heartleaf skullcap)Thelypteris kunthii (Wood fern), Carex amphibola (Creek sedge),  Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage) and Ruellia humilis (Low wild petunia).  These plants thrive in shady and moist sites.

Many of these species should be available at plant nurseries in your area.  Examples are Barton Creek Nursery and the Natural Gardener in the Austin vicinity.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Prairie petunia
Ruellia humilis

Hinckley's golden columbine
Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Heartleaf skullcap
Scutellaria ovata

Wood fern
Thelypteris kunthii

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

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