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 - June 07, 2009

From: Oakton, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Plants to put between stepping stones in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are a public school in Northern Virginia and are looking for native plants that could be planted between heavily used stepping stones and could withstand some foot traffic (mostly in a sunny spot, but would love to know good plants for different light conditions for other areas of the school as well, from very sunny to deep shade).

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants suggests that you go to our Recommended Species page and select Virginia from the map or pull-down menu.  This will give you a list of more than 120 native plants that are commercially available for landscaping in Virginia.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH OPTION to limit the list to a particular type of plant; for instance, under General Appearance you might select 'Herb' or 'Shrub' and then select the appropriate choice under Light Requirement and/or Soil Moisture.  This would give you many choices for the different light conditions in the other areas of your school.  For the areas between stepping stones, here are a few recommendations.  If you can keep traffic to a minimum until the plants are well-established, they will have a better chance of withstanding regular traffic.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle frogfruit)

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot)

Sedum glaucophyllum (cliff stonecrop)

Sedum ternatum (woodland stonecrop)

Portulaca oleracea (little hogweed)

Portulaca halimoides (silkcotton purslane)

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) grows very well in the sun and requires little watering once established.  Since it grows only as high as 12 inches, it would perhaps need mowing only once or twice a season. 


Phyla nodiflora

Dichondra carolinensis

Sedum glaucophyllum

Sedum ternatum

Portulaca oleracea

Portulaca halimoides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant ground cover for Massachusetts
July 11, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants I am looking for drought resistant,low maintenance ground cover for a LEED certified project in Florence MA. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a sunny hillside in TX
February 20, 2011 - For many years I have had two beds of English Ivy under medium size pine trees. Home is on a hillside, moderately rocky. Last Spring my yardman persuaded me to severely trim lower limbs of the pines t...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for clay soil in Southern California
August 08, 2012 - I live in Southern California and have hard packed clay soil in my yard. Could you recommend ground cover that would be green, low to the ground, require little water and survive in clay? I can't a...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for slippery slope
May 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a ground cover for a slippery slope. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

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