Contact Us Host an Event 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?

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 - April 02, 2012

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Fast Growing Ground Cover for Sun in San Antonio
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

What is the fastest growing ground cover for San Antonio Texas (predominantly sunny)?

ANSWER:

Here is a recent Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a question similar to yours. In brief, this answer recommends several native sedges (genus Carex) and two other native plants. Since you are interested in fast growing and sedges are likely to be a bit slow, I will focus on the other two.

The first is a personal favorite of this Mr. Smarty Plants, Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) aka horseherb, lawnflower, or creeping Cinderella (in Australia). This plant will do best in shade or partial shade, but does well in sun. In addition to fast growth, it has a couple of things going for it: it is attractive, with bright green foliage and tiny, yellow, daisy-like flowers, and it is readily available. Unless your yard is very well manicured, you probably already have patches of it growing somewhere. You don't have to buy it, just dig some up, divide it and replant where you want it.

The second plant is Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit). This plant is very tolerant of sun and is fast growing. It produces tiny white flowers. Like straggler daisy, you can probably find some growing wild in your area.

Both of these palnts are native to central Texas and well adapted to our heat, drought and occasional floods. Both will go dormant in most winters, but come right back when things warm up.

 

From the Image Gallery




Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Groundcovers Questions

Low, Easy Care Perennials for Lake Ontario Shore Planting
October 04, 2015 - I'm on Lake Ontario in New York. I have a lake bank slope, thatís about 1/8 mile long and about 40 feet high, and is on about a 40 degree angle. It is very hard to keep clear. The bank has just been ...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating and replacing Tradescantia species
July 03, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I need advice. I recently figured out my 10 month old dog is highly allergic to Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and "Wandering Jew" which covers about h...
view the full question and answer

Destruction of Straggler Daisy in Austin
December 18, 2011 - I hate Straggler Daisy. Not to be offensive, but it appears from other posts on this site that you, Mr. Smarty Plants, and many others would like to treat it as a protected species. It is taking over ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for Sarasota County, Florida
January 02, 2010 - I would like to replace the grass in my yard with native or any other appropriate ground cover. I live in North Port, Sarasota County Florida. I would be grateful for any suggestions. Thank you in ad...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for high canal bank in Florida
May 27, 2009 - My home is on a canal to a natural lake in Central Florida (Orlando area). I am wondering if there is a wildflower that I can grow on a 3' high canal bank that is mostly shady.
view the full question and answer

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