En Español

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

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

Vinca minor and St. Augustine grass
November 22, 2009 - Will St. Augustine grass choke out vinca minor?
view the full question and answer

Vinca as a groundcover
February 11, 2016 - Someone told me that Vinca would be a great ground cover for my very large mostly shaded area. How can I establish it and where can I get it? Thanks in advance.
view the full question and answer

Flower friends for roses in Tyler Texas
June 24, 2011 - I have planted some double red Knockout roses and am looking for plants to go with them to add blue, white, pink and yellow hues. I am interested in planting something that will act as a ground cover ...
view the full question and answer

Creekside Groundcover for Upstate New York
October 22, 2015 - I live in Upstate New York in Rochester. Our winters can have lows of -10 at night at times. I have 1,300 linear feet of creekside land that seniors can view from their homes. Because of the brush, it...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for a Sunny, Steep Slope in Maryland
April 29, 2013 - I need a groundcover for a sunny dry steep slope in Towson, Maryland. The slope goes from the parking lot down to a deck area.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center