En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 15, 2014

From: Edmond, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Groundcover for Shady Front Beds in OK
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I need a groundcover for my front beds in Edmond, OK that are moist and in full shade. The groundcover would primarily be around and under a Japanese maple. Low maintenance is preferred.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential shade plants for your front beds is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have put together an extensive database of plants and their characteristics for you to review.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: OK, Habit – herb (for herbaceous), Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Shade, Soil Moisture – Moist, and Size – 0-1 feet.
This search criteria will give you 19 native plants to consider. Not all of them will be good candidates as groundcover plants because their form or growth habit is not appropriate. The ones that will make the best groundcover plants are:


Asarum canadense (Canadian wild ginger), a low colony-forming perennial to 8 inches in height. Over time will form a dense groundcover in a shaded, moist woodland site.  Propagate in the fall by root division.
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches), dense masses of finely cut leaves and fragrant, white pantaloon-shaped flowers in the spring. Can spread over a good size area over time. Plant goes dormant in early summer.
Erythronium albidum (White troutlily),maroon spotted leaves make an attractive groundcover. White bell-shaped flowers in spring. Plants multiply rapidly by root offshoots and seed.
Galium triflorum (Fragrant bedstraw), trailing perennial that could reach 4 feet in length. Tiny star-like flowers.
Hydrophyllum virginianum (Eastern waterleaf), woodland perennial, whitish flowers on long stalks in early summer.
Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry), a trailing evergreen perennial with fragrant white blooms. A creeping plant no taller than 2 inches. Highly ornamental foliage. Scarlet fruit consumed by birds and mammals. A good groundcover for under acid-loving shrubs. Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox), loose, flat clusters of fragrant, lavender or pink flowers.
Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot), white blossoms in spring, spreads rapidly and makes a good groundcover.
Uvularia sessilifolia (Spreading bellwort), 15 inch stalks hold dangling leaves and delicate cream-colored flowers. Roots colonize to form a groundcover.
Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet), light purple blooms in the early spring, colonizes via rhizomes to form a groundcover.

 

From the Image Gallery


Canadian wild ginger
Asarum canadense

Dutchman's breeches
Dicentra cucullaria

White troutlily
Erythronium albidum

Fragrant bedstraw
Galium triflorum

Eastern waterleaf
Hydrophyllum virginianum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

Bloodroot
Sanguinaria canadensis

Spreading bellwort
Uvularia sessilifolia

Missouri violet
Viola missouriensis

Canadian wild ginger
Asarum canadense

Dutchman's breeches
Dicentra cucullaria

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
July 19, 2012 - I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I...
view the full question and answer

Horseherb planting in Richardson, TX
October 18, 2014 - What is the best time to plant 4" pots of Horseherb?
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plant for grave in boggy Newfoundland
May 30, 2008 - I am looking for any suggestions on what type of plant I can plant on a grave. It is very boggy (peat)land. I want something that is hardy & not too tall. We have about 8 weeks of summer, July & Augus...
view the full question and answer

Drought-Tolerant, Evergreen Groundcover for CA
August 21, 2014 - We are looking for a drought tolerant, evergreen groundcover for California. I am considering Sarcococca hookeriana and Cotoneaster dammeri but don't know if they're the best options for the area. I...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
February 06, 2012 - Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center