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

Friday - November 09, 2007

From: Mesquite, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Evergreen groundcover or ornamental grass to plant under tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What can I plant under my tree as a groundcover? I would like an evergreen groundcover, how about ornamental grasses?

ANSWER:

There are a couple of native grasses, Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) and Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye), that would grow in the shade under your tree, but they aren't going to be evergreen. However, they do have very attractive seed heads that would persist through the winter until the new growth begins in the spring.

Depending on how deep the shade is under your tree, you could also plant Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) or Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) both of which will grow in partial shade.

Sedges are evergreen and both of these, Carex texensis (Texas sedge) and Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge), grow well in the shade.

Here are a couple of other plants that will do well in the shade and will remain evergreen except in severe winters: Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) and Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy).



Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Schizachyrium scoparium

Elymus virginicus

Carex texensis

Carex cherokeensis

Phyla nodiflora

Calyptocarpus vialis

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcovers for Miami FL
March 27, 2013 - What is a ground cover that does not need mowing or a lot of water and survives in South Florida heat and is also native to the area? I would like to turn my lawn into a more natural self-sustaining a...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for drainage ditch in Bastrop
October 02, 2008 - A friend in Bastrop has a drainage ditch in front where she'd like to use a groundcover. Normally it's very dry, but when it rains, can have 1-2" of water. Gets mostly sun. I was wondering about ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for steep hill in Georgia
May 04, 2009 - We have a large steep hill with only clay and rocks on it in the North Georgia Mountain area. What is a good Native ground covering to put on this for erosion? Something that grows fast preferably. ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover and Butterfly attractants for LaRue Texas
May 02, 2012 - LaRue, TX - Would like a native low growing plant as a groundcover. I would like it for six+ hours of sun, drought tolerant, and ones that butterflies might enjoy, while deer won't. Some winter int...
view the full question and answer

Does Calyptocarpus vialis (Horseherb) compete with turf grasses
October 05, 2015 - For my yard in central Austin Does horse herb, Calyptocarpus vialis help or damage the growth of native short grasses? The grasses include Curly Mesquite and Blue Gamma planted early in the spring or...
view the full question and answer

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