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 - January 12, 2010

From: Gurnee, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for primary school in Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 beside a sidewalk. The area can hold water during heavy rain but does drain.

ANSWER:

Below are some suggested groundcover plants (with their light requirements) that are native to Illinois.  However, I feel sure that none of them will stand up to heavy foot traffic.  If the foot traffic will be an occasional person walking across it, then these should be fine once they are established.  If this is an area where the children will be playing several times a day, however, I doubt that any of these will be able to survive successfully.  In that case you would be better served by grass or sedges.  In either case, you will need to limit any sort of foot traffic until the plants are well-established. Note:  shade = less than 2 hours of sun per day, part shade = 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, and sun = more than 2 hours of sun per day.

Sedum ternatum (woodland stonecrop) part shade

Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger) part shade, shade

Waldsteinia fragarioides (Appalachian barren strawberry) sun, part shade.  Here is more information.

Heuchera richardsonii (Richardson's alumroot) part shade, shade

Heuchera americana (American alumroot) part shade. shade

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) sun, part shade, shade

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood) sun, part shade, shade

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry) sun, part shade.  Here is more information.

Viola sororia (common blue violet) sun, part shade


Sedum ternatum

Asarum canadense

Waldsteinia fragarioides

Heuchera richardsonii

Cornus canadensis

Heuchera americana

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Fragaria virginiana

Sanguinaria canadensis

Viola sororia

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for Massachusetts
March 21, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We are trying to kill poison ivy in shaded areas bordering our driveway and want to plant something quickly to replace it. There are many tall trees in this area, mainly pi...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Boston MA
March 12, 2013 - We have a small back yard that gets great sun in spring before the leaves are fully back on the tall trees surrounding the perimeter, and then a lot of shade in summer. We have weird patchy grass and ...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
September 27, 2010 - Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center