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Tuesday - January 12, 2010

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


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.


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




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