Rent Shop 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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 02, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for a slope in San Antonio TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Slope growing, no or little irrigation ground cover. The slope is probably greater than 30%. The area is currently a construction road at the base, cut into the hill. To re-establish with a ground cover that would be short enough not to need mowing. Pedestrians walk through the area so a short growth plant for safety. Prefer a bedding plant vs. grass.

ANSWER:

It would be helpful to know whether the area is in sun (more than 6 hours of sun a day), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun per day).  Since I don't know the sun situation on the slope, please be sure to read the information on GROWING CONDITIONS on each of the species pages that I recommend.

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena) grows only 6-12 inches tall and has blooms from March through December.

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) is semi-evergreen and is usually a sprawling plant.

Wedelia texana (Zexmenia) should be evergreen in San Antonio.   It blooms from June through November.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) is semi-evergreen and usually grows to less than 1 foot.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is semi-evergreen and blooms May to October.

You might consider using one of the sedges.  There are species that grow to less than 1 foot high and do well without irrigation after they are established.   Here is more information about sedges from McNeal Growers in Austin.  Here are two that are native to Bexar County:

Carex perdentata (Meadow sedge) grows in sun to about 8 inches high.

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) grows best in part shade to 6 inches high.

Using a combination of plants is your best bet.  That way you will learn what will grow best on your slope and a mix of heights and colors will make the area more interesting.   Any of the plants above will require irrigation to become established. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Zexmenia
Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora



Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

More Erosion Control Questions

Low plants to cover bank too steep to mow
June 26, 2008 - I have a bank along the road that is too steep to mow. This bank faces east and only gets 2 - 4 hours per day of sunlight. I'd like to try ground cover to prevent erosion, however visibility is a p...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stop creek bank erosion in North Carolina
June 26, 2009 - Hi: I live in NC where most of the dirt is clay based. I have a small creek behind my house that is eroding. The creek overflows when there is a heavy rain and as a result, gradual erosion. My g...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing ground cover for creekside
May 18, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Austin Texas and am looking for an aggressively spreading ground cover or grass to plant along a small creek on the back of my property in order to help with soil er...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to prevent erosion in Maryland
February 03, 2009 - Please can you recommend native plants for a north-facing slope, under pine trees? I live in Maryland near the border between the Coastal Plain and Piedmont Plateau, where we have cold to mild Winter...
view the full question and answer

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