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

Tuesday - July 05, 2011

From: Forest City, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Turf, Wildflowers
Title: Short wildflowers to interplant with grass in PA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in NE PA and would like to grow short wildflowers throughout my yard mixed in with my grass. Is this possible? If so, what would be a good match for my zone? I will be mowing the grass once a week so I would prefer something under six inches so that I'll be able to see the flowers when they bloom.

ANSWER:

This is actually not an easy request.  Our Native Plant Database will generate lists of plants native to your area by doing a Combination Search for Pennsylvania.  When selecting herbaceous plants that grow in sunny conditions (which we assume your lawn is) that are less than one foot tall, it generates a list of only 14 plants.  If you select sun and part shade, there are more choices, most of which will actually be taller than 6 inches.

In addition to that challenge, most lawn mowers will cut your lawn closer to 3 or 4 inches than six, so you would actually have to "mow" with a string trimmer.  All the plants flower at the ends of their stems, so one miss and the flower is gone.

Sorry we cannot be more supportive of your idea ... most meadow wildflowers evolved in the tall grass prairie so they are taller to compete with the grasses.  If you want wildflowers in your lawn you will have to plant them in swaths that you can mow around.  Check out our database and do the Combination Search; you may find what you are looking for.

 

More Turf Questions

Elimination of bermuda grass from St. Augustine lawn
January 04, 2005 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am so frustrated with the bermuda grass mixed with St. Augustine grass. I have tried Ortho-B-gone but it did not work. Is there any measure to kill the Bermuda grass but not...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and turf grass for VA
February 08, 2012 - I recently moved to Blacksburg, Virginia. I am becoming involved with a church here that recently started a grounds committee. There is some discussion within the group of which varieties of native ...
view the full question and answer

Survival of native lawn in Hockley TX
August 02, 2011 - I'm on the edge of the Katy Prairie and a very large ranch with full blasting sun and completely open exposure. The soil is fill from the developers with more clay than sand, a minimum of nutrients,...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant and grub-resistant grass for Smithville TX
October 02, 2012 - I want a drought resistant grass for a sunny area that is also resistant to grubs. I have lots of grubs but want a healthy soil of good microbes. Any ideas? Zoysia, Buffalo? I noticed that Tech Turf r...
view the full question and answer

Mixing of bluebonnets and buffalograss in a lawn
April 22, 2007 - I have moved into a house with a yard full of weeds. I would like to plant Buffalograss but understand Buffalograss is sparce and difficult to keep the weeds out. So, I was considering mixing it wit...
view the full question and answer

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