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

Wednesday - July 23, 2008

From: Middletown, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for sunny yard in New Jersey
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi. I'm looking for ground cover for a mostly sunny section of my yard. The ground we are looking to cover is next to a slight hill with in a few feet of an in ground pool. I would like something that grows short, maybe a few inches, that also has a thick root system to keep the top soil in place. Thanks

ANSWER:

Grasses and sedges are excellent in holding top soil in place because of their fibrous root systems. The grasses listed below are not low-growing, but they are ornamental and clumping. You could perhaps use some of them in association with other groundcover plants. The sedges are shorter than the grasses and evergreen or semi-evergreen. The Christmas fern grows up to two feet high, but the remainder of the plants are low-growing.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) shade, part shade

Deschampsia caespitosa (tufted hairgrass) part shade

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) shade, part shade, sun

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly) sun

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) part shade, sun

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) shade, part shade, sun and evergreen

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) shade, part shade, sun and semi-evergreen

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) shade, part shade, sun

Phlox subulata (moss phlox) shade, part shade, sun and evergreen

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) shade, part shade, sun and evergreen

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) shade, part shade and evergreen

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) shade, part shade and evergreen

Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty) part shade

Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty) part shade


Chasmanthium latifolium

Deschampsia caespitosa

Elymus canadensis

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Carex blanda

Carex pensylvanica

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Phlox subulata

Polystichum acrostichoides

Gaultheria procumbens

Mitchella repens

Claytonia caroliniana

Claytonia virginica

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Low maintenance, native plants for sloping drive near Philadelphia
October 20, 2004 - My cabin is located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. I am looking for low maintenance plants that would look good on the sides of a driveway that slopes upward. This is a potential project fo...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for primary school in Illinois
January 12, 2010 - I'm looking for a ground cover to plant on primary school grounds. It will need to be able to handle foot traffic. Is there anything that flowers and is a perennial? The area gets full sun and is b...
view the full question and answer

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
June 24, 2012 - What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen ground cover for San Antonio
August 03, 2011 - Is there a short, evergreen, drought tolerant ground cover which will tolerate light traffic that can be used instead of grass? San Antonio, Texas
view the full question and answer

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