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

Wednesday - May 07, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus lawn. Can you recommend a short groundcover that can take minimal foot traffic? and do you think I still have time to plant this spring? Thanks!

ANSWER:

It is really on the late side to expect anything to come up from seeds, but bedding plants will probably still work. Local nurseries that carry native plants (see our National Suppliers Directory for a listing) should have at least some of these in stock.

One of the sedges would make a good groundcover. They have the advantage of being evergreen and will take moderate traffic.

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

These next two plants are semi-evergreen, depending on the winter temperatures.

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)


Carex cherokeensis

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Low water use tree to shade pond in Burnet TX
May 10, 2011 - I'm in need of some shade at a 1/2 acre pond, but I don't want a tree to consume so much water that it will lower the water level. During droughts the little pond needs all the water it can get. Som...
view the full question and answer

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shady area with sandy soil
September 23, 2008 - We have very sandy soil, is there any type of grass that will grow well. Also, very shady.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for Shady Austin, Texas Backyard
July 11, 2016 - I am looking for a colorful shrub or bush for my drab backyard in Austin. It won't get much sun and I want something native that detracts bugs if possible.
view the full question and answer

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