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

Saturday - September 15, 2012

From: Conroe, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Low maintenance grass for shade in Conroe, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the best low maintenance grass to plant in front lawn shaded, no traffic area?

ANSWER:

We think this may be what we call a "dream plant." We have correspondents that give us all the characteristics of their particular garden, and then ask for such things as low maintenance, deer resistant, evergreen, ever-blooming and on and on. Obviously, you are not asking for that much, but we don't have the ability to custom design a plant.

Shade is going to be the biggest problem. Most grasses for shade are non-native and not well adapted to Texas; for instance, St. Augustine. This is a water slurping grass that is  high maintenance and native to Africa. You may need to rethink "lawn," for something more practical and xeric.

Because we find ourselves answering very similar questions over and over, we would like for you to read these previous questions, all on native ground covers and all from Texas. The plants on some of those lists may not be appropriate to Southeast Texas, but the text concerns the same problems you have, shade, low maintenance, etc. Follow each link to the previous question; some have additional links you may find informative.

Conroe TX

LaRue TX

Runaway Bay TX

Anson TX

Next, let us introduce you to our Recommended Species section. On the map, click on Southeast Texas, which includes Montgomery County. This will give you a list of 117 species that should do well in your part of Texas. Be sure and read the description of the ecology of that part of the state. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on the plant and there find out its growing conditions, water needs, expected heights, etc. You can do the same with plants links in the previous questions above, remembering to compare the information on each plant with the situation you have in your own garden. I think you will find very few, or none, low groundcovers for shade, so you may want to consider some of the suggestions made in other previous questions, such as decomposed granite and mulch, instead of "lawn."

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Container plants for Yakima WA
May 11, 2013 - My condo complex has purchased large, pottery pots for around our pool. I need to choose low maintenance plants. hopefully something that takes limited water, etc.
view the full question and answer

Native turf grass for acreage in Denison TX
January 27, 2014 - I have recently moved to Denison TX where we have 5+ acres of true crosstimbers land. I am looking for a native turf grass that will do well in sandy soil and with the water provided by nature. The m...
view the full question and answer

Erosion at edge of driveway in Abilene TX
August 26, 2011 - My lawn suffered a great loss of grass over the winter and the soil at the edge of the driveway is washing away with watering and the occasional rains that we have. I am trying to get the grass to gr...
view the full question and answer

Planting Habiturf in an occasional overflow area
November 14, 2014 - Wondering about putting Habiturf in an area that is for occasional flood overflow. How will the Habiturf be affected by these occasional conditions? I suspect it won't like it and will start to thin ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to control hillside erosion in Illinois
May 04, 2014 - I have seen some other questions regarding native plants for erosion control, but I am looking specifically for plants that will do well on a hill in partial to full shade. I am told the soil in our a...
view the full question and answer

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