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

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

Groundcover for foot traffic in dry shade from Prineville OR
May 12, 2013 - I live in central Oregon. I have an area under a large elm tree that slopes on all sides and has lots of foot traffic and no sun. (my kids have a swing in the tree and play around it a lot.) It's a v...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for rocky slope
February 27, 2012 - My house has a very steep and very rocky slope. We have no problems with erosion, its just very unnattractive. There is no way to mow it whatsoever, and we live in a planned community so we can't h...
view the full question and answer

Source for ground pine plants from Ligonier PA
December 21, 2012 - Where can I purchase "ground pine plants? I want to use them for erosion control.
view the full question and answer

Where to find Horseherb seed
August 02, 2015 - I would like to purchase some Horseherb seeds. Can you tell me where I can do that? Either locally or on line. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Compatibility of mixed ground covers with St. Agustine grass
March 04, 2015 - My husband and I live in Northwest Austin. We have removed lawn from our front yard and replaced it with mulch and some trees and other plantings. We would like to replace the lawn in our backyard ...
view the full question and answer

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