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

Plants for difficult site in Jacksonville, TX
July 07, 2010 - East Texas (Cherokee County) red clay hillside, hard-packed, difficult to get to, 40' of it slopes 4' down in about 6'! Another 30' of it is flat. Between the hillside and the flat clay area is a...
view the full question and answer

Planting Garry Oak in Kinnikinnick in WA
May 09, 2015 - I want to plant a Garry Oak tree in my backyard in an area currently covered in kinnikinnick planted by the previous homeowner. The kinnikinnick covers a large area - about 10 feet in diameter. Even...
view the full question and answer

Replacing a Grass Lawn with Moss
January 02, 2010 - I have a small north facing yard that I would like to change from grass to moss. There is some moss now but still lots of grass. I need to rake a lot of leaves in the fall but want to get away from a ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for steep hill in Georgia
May 04, 2009 - We have a large steep hill with only clay and rocks on it in the North Georgia Mountain area. What is a good Native ground covering to put on this for erosion? Something that grows fast preferably. ...
view the full question and answer

Information about ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis)
May 06, 2008 - I recently planted some Carpobrotus edulis, Ice plant, and wanted to know if I can mulch or put stones around the entire garden and plants. They are a ground cover plant.
view the full question and answer

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