Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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
3 ratings

Friday - August 12, 2011

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses or sedges for a border in Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I am in the process of gradually replacing some of my landscaping in Dallas Texas with native Texas plants. Your website has been very helpful. I now wish to replace a liriope border, which has crown and leaf rot, with a native grass or sedge. The area is part shade. Would cedar sedge work and would it be susceptible to the same fungus that created the liriope problem? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Yes, sedges would be a good choice since they do well in shade and have few disease or insect problems.  Mr. Smarty Plants recommends several sedges, all of which survive dry conditions but look nicer if watered.  In the order of increasing plant height, Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) (6 in.), Carex retroflexa var texensis (sometimes called Texas sedge) (6-12 in.), Carex texensis (Texas sedge) (10-12 in.) and Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge), also called Creek sedge and Stream Sedge (1-3 ft.) should all grow well in Dallas.  For more information on sedges, see the McNeal Growers web site, where you could purchase Texas sedge and Eastern woodland sedge. It may not be easy to find Cedar Sedge in nurseries although I notice the the Dallas nursery Repotted lists it.  Other local suppliers are listed on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site. Look for the latin name you want, since many different common names are sometimes applied to the same sedge species.

As an alternative, consider a grass, Tridens muticus (Slim tridens) (1-3 ft), which forms a gray-green clump about the size of liriope and grows well in partial shade, or Setaria scheelei (Southwestern bristlegrass), (1-2 ft),which has wider, greener leaves and attractive seed heads that birds like.  You might have to look in nature for the bristlegrass seeds or purchase seeds of a related species, Setaria macrostachya, Plains bristlegrass.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Slim tridens
Tridens muticus

Southwestern bristlegrass
Setaria scheelei

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native violets under maples from Gettysburg PA
July 06, 2012 - Just for your info (no need to post or reply), I saw an old post of a question of something to grow under maples. In central PA, native violets grow very well under several species of maples in lawns...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in Pennsylvania
September 13, 2008 - i would like to plant a small area in my rear yard, that is full shade in the summer (when the trees are full with leaves) and part shade in early spring. i live on a state park - there are plenty of...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant evergreens for privacy shield in Louisville KY
March 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our property is adjacent to the highway for ~ 200ft. I'm looking for partial-to-full shade tolerant evergreens that will grow to be relatively tall. Our soil is clay and g...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shady area in north Texas
July 29, 2013 - I'm looking for a ground cover for a mostly shady area where St. Augustine won't grow. I don't want the ground cover to overtake my established St. Augustine in the rest of the yard. The area is un...
view the full question and answer

Partial shade plants for underneath ash tree in Tarrant County, Texas
April 20, 2011 - I have a BIG Ash Tree in my front yard that blocks out most afternoon sun. I generally get morning and evening sun. I am looking for something to plant around the base of the tree so my yard doesn'...
view the full question and answer

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