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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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Monday - April 21, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native moss to fill in between flagstones
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Houston and have a long, narrow flagstone path that runs along the east side of the house. I am looking for a native moss that can fill in between the flagstones and will tolerate morning sun and afternoon shade. They are selling a low growing moss at the local Lowe's, but no one can tell me if it will thrive here in Houston. Also am wondering how low maintenance moss will be once established.

ANSWER:

The requirement for thriving for most mosses is shade and moisture. However, there are a few native mosses that will grow in the sun, go dormant when dry, and revive again when moisture is available. There is no way for us to tell how the Lowe's moss will perform unless we know its botanical name. Also, unless we know its name, we can't tell you whether or not it is native. If your flagstone area is mostly shaded and remains generally moist, however, I would think the moss would at least survive, if not thrive.

We can recommend a few low-growing vascular plants (mosses are non-vascular), in lieu of the mosses, that would fill in between your flagstones and grow well in both sun and partial shade.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Sedum nuttallianum (yellow stonecrop)


Phyla nodiflora

Dichondra carolinensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Sedum nuttallianum

 

 

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