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
1 rating

Monday - July 12, 2010

From: Lake Charles, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Need mowable ground cover for shady area under trees in Lake Charles, LA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a large portion of my back yard that is very shady because I have large trees in the yard. The area dries up fairly quickly after a heavy rain, so it isn't extremely moist. Nothing really grows there though. I really want some sort of groundcover that I can mow and that my son can walk on. I'm just tired of looking at a yard that is half grass and half dirt. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

You didn't mention the kind of trees or the type of soil that you have in your yard. Both of these factors can influence the kinds of plants that will grow there.

The following is a list of plants that are considered groundcovers that can grow in shady conditions. 

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) grows less than 1 foot high. Can be mowed

Geum canadense (white avens) grows from 4 inches to over 3 feet, but can be mowed.  It is evergreen if watered in summer.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit) grows 3 to 4 inches high and is evergreen to dormant in winter.

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) grows 4 to 18 inches or more, but can be mowed and is evergreen if watered in summer.

Packera obovata (roundleaf ragwort) grows 3 inches to 2 feet but can be mowed and is evergreen. 

Clicking on the name of the plant will bring up its NPIN page which has infromation about the plant's characteristics, growing conditions and photos.


Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Phyla nodiflora

Salvia lyrata

Packera obovata

 



 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for shaded area in East Texas
July 23, 2013 - I live in East Texas and have an area that is shaded most of the day - it only gets sun in the middle of the day but it is direct. What would be best? I would prefer something that won't freeze, bu...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009 - We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad...
view the full question and answer

Native ground covers for shade in East Texas
June 06, 2008 - I live in Mount Pleasant, Texas which is in northeast Texas. I would like a list of ground covers that would do well in our area. The place I want to put it gets a lot of shade. The ground is clay. Th...
view the full question and answer

Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
July 04, 2014 - Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a dry slope in PA
May 23, 2013 - My side yard is a slope with rocky (a lot of small serpentine rocks) soil under white and black pine trees. I can grow lots of weeds :-) but would like to plant a low (0-3in) evergreen ground cover th...
view the full question and answer

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