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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 20, 2016

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: How much shade will Thunder Turf (Habiturf) take?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

How much shade will Thunder Turf take?

ANSWER:

Not much!  Thunderturf, or Habiturf, as it is also called, needs a minimum of six hours of direct light to grow well. It will grow somewhat sparsely if given strong indirect light below a high tree canopy.  We know of no native turf grass that thrives in shade.  You would be well advised to consider a non-grass ground cover in shady areas.  Paspalum setaceum (Thin paspalum) is a bunch grass that is common in Central Texas and should occur in shady areas of Arlington.  Its compact roseate form is mowable, but some find the 12-15 inch-high seed stalks unattractive.  Grass-like sedges do grow well in shade.

Here are several groundcovers that will grow in the shade.  Except for the two grasses, they are semi-evergreen or evergreen.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) is evergreen to semi-evergreen. "Evergreen in areas with mild or no winter, deciduous in areas with cold winters."

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is semi-evergreen.

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) is evergreen to semi-evergreen.

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) is evergreen.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) is evergreen.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) is semi-evergreen.

Ruellia humilis (Fringeleaf wild petunia) is evergreen.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) dies back in winter but is perennial.  This grass grows in clumps and can reach 2 feet or more, but is very attractive.

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill) dies back in winter but is perennial.

If you decide to go with Thunderturf (Habiturf), check out this how-to article (https://www.wildflower.org/habiturf/) on our website.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Prairie petunia
Ruellia humilis

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
view the full question and answer

Seed source for Carex texensis from Louisville KY
May 02, 2012 - Your reply to my question re a grass for my Kentucky home with cistern only water available was much appreciated, Carex texensis was recommended. I am unable to find this product for sale other than ...
view the full question and answer

Native groundcovers for bare, shady space in Oklahoma
August 22, 2008 - I have recently acquired a new residence that has very little lawn to speak of. The backyard is in an unfortunate position to catch significant amounts of rainwater from nearby yards, and is sloped. ...
view the full question and answer

Need plants for shade in Arizona.
May 15, 2009 - Please suggest plants that I can plant in a shaded area. I live in Glendale, Arizona. The shade will be 100% of the time.
view the full question and answer

Plants for shaded area under pecan trees
May 11, 2011 - The east side of our Houston home has a 15 foot strip overhung with pecan trees. The shade by the start of summer is so dense that grass dies pretty quickly. I'd like to keep enough grass for the k...
view the full question and answer

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