Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?


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 - May 08, 2009

From: Leavenworth, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native plants for eroding hillside in Kansas
Answered by: Nina Hawkins


We have a creek running thru our property and the hill running down to it is about 30 feet tall, in some places almost straight down, some sloping. Some is in shade, some full sun. We would like some flowering plants, if possible, that will aid with erosion since the rain water is washing the hillside.


Your best bet for effective erosion control is definitely grasses because their fibrous roots hold soil very well.  But there's certainly no reason that should stop you from having wildflowers too.  Grasses are not to be underestimated - they provide interest when your flowers aren't blooming and many look great en masse.  You can find a wide variety of native plants that are recommended for your area on our Recommended Species page, where you can also narrow your search to certain characteristics and choose the water and light requirements specific to a spot on your hillside.  Below are some beautiful grasses and a few wildflowers that often grow among grasses.  These plants are native to Kansas and several are known to reseed freely to form colonies.    

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Echinacea angustifolia (blacksamson echinacea)

Liatris pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket)

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

Schizachyrium scoparium

Koeleria macrantha

Bouteloua curtipendula

Sorghastrum nutans

Echinacea angustifolia

Liatris pycnostachya

Tradescantia ohiensis

Chamaecrista fasciculata



More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Seep Muhly in limited sunlight.
July 01, 2015 - Can Seep Muhly withstand just 3 or 4 hours of direct sunlight in an urban setting?
view the full question and answer

Need plants to control erosion on a hillside in Nashville, TN.
February 28, 2012 - Recently, a rogue contractor scraped all the sod off of my Tennessee hillside. Now the clay soil is exposed and washing away quickly. The hill slope is approximately 30 degrees. In the spring I'd ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for organic farm in Elgin TX
July 22, 2014 - Hi there, I am working to restore native grasses on our certified organic farm in Elgin, TX. We raise eggs, grass fed beef, and grass fed lamb. I am having a terrible time finding organic pastur...
view the full question and answer

Removal of non-native zoysia grass from Burgettstown PA
September 12, 2013 - What is the most effective method of killing zoysia grass? We bought a house that sits in the center of four acres of mature zoysia. It looks beautiful, however, despite our best efforts at "weeding...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vine for cinder block wall in Albuquerque
July 26, 2010 - I live in Albuquerque, N.M. and have a cement/cinder block wall and was wondering if there is a vine I can plant which will be easy to grow, grow fast and cover my wall without any type of help like a...
view the full question and answer

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