Ground covers can be used in problem areas. They can grow on and over rocks, under trees and substitute for grass in large areas, cutting down on mowing time. Evergreen ground cover plants have the extra benefit of providing color year round. In Texas, the evergreen ground cover plants can take a variety of soil types, produce flowers and can stand up to the hot summer weather.
Gregg's Prairie Clover
Gregg's prairie clover (Dalea greggii) is also known as gregg dalea, indigo bush and trailing indigo bush. The plant grows to be 4-9 inches tall and spreads out as far as 2-4 feet. It produces leaves that are blue-green with a touch of silver and small purple flowers from May through September. Gregg's prairie clover grows well on rocky slopes. The plant is a perennial (one that grows for several years) and likes full sun or partial shade, and dry soil.
Gregg's prairie clover is native to the Chihuahuan Desert, an area where it rains in the summer months. In order to duplicate the conditions, it needs to be watered during dry summers.
Bees and butterflies are attracted to the plant, but deer will leave it alone
Texas frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) is also known as turkey tangle fogfruit and frogfruit. It grows fast, up to 3-6 inches tall and produces green leaves and white flowers that bloom from May through October. The plant's natural habitat is both in the fields and by beaches, meaning it can be grown in any type of soil--as long as it is dry to moist and it gets full sun or partial shade. Texas frogfruit is a favorite of both butterflies and insects.
Straggler daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis Less) is also known as horseherb, hierba del caballo and lawnflower. The plant produces medium green leaves and small yellow flowers that resemble those of a daisy and bloom from March through November. It grows 6-12 inches tall, and can be grown in sun, partial or full shade and in any type of soil as long as it is dry to moist, and not too wet. The fact that it is very shade tolerant makes the plant a good choice to planting under trees where few plants can grow. Straggler daisy can also withstand a moderate amount of foot traffic.
Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata L.) is also known as cancer weed. The plant grows 1-2 feet tall and produces deep green leaves and blue to lavender flowers that measure about 1 inch long. The flowers bloom from March through June. It is a hardy plant that can take a mowing and come right back. It can also be used in high traffic areas. Lyreleaf sage grows in the woods, meadows and clearings in east Texas. The plant grows well in sun, part shade or full shade and in a soil that is most to wet. Butterflies and hummingbirds like lyerleaf sage, as do deer, but to a lesser degree.