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

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

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for Miami FL
March 27, 2013 - What is a ground cover that does not need mowing or a lot of water and survives in South Florida heat and is also native to the area? I would like to turn my lawn into a more natural self-sustaining a...
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcover for High Activity Location in Austin, TX
October 01, 2010 - Howdy! We live in South Austin and have a smallish backyard that we're perennially working on. We have two young, very active dogs that spend a lot of time RUNNING and we never can keep ground cover ...
view the full question and answer

Native groundcover for central California
September 02, 2009 - In Modesto, CA. Hot summers, cold winters. Need a low ground cover for area next to driveway approx. 5ft X 14ft. that stays green all year round. I did have grass there but neigbors lawn is loaded wit...
view the full question and answer

Marbleseed (Onosmodium sp.) propagation and use as groundcover for
October 08, 2007 - I am interested in any information, esp. propagation & suitability as a landscape plant, (possible ground cover?) for marble seed. I have found it growing in deep shade on stream banks. It has a 4--...
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