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

Sunday - April 04, 2010

From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for a slope in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in New York State about 60 miles north of NYC. I have a very wide hill in the front of my house that I am just unable to keep up with. I can mow the bottom portion but using a weed trimmer for the rest is very time consuming and difficult. Can you suggest ground cover plants that will fill in the area with minimal maintenance? The hill receives quite a bit of morning sun.

ANSWER:

You don't mention how large the area is, the type of setting (suburban or rural) or what your definition of "minimal" is with regards to maintenance. There is no such thing as a maintenance free garden ... although in many cases, the level of maintenance demand is defined by the homeowner's taste (formal or more "wild" garden preferences).

You will definitely have fewer maintenance requirements if you choose shrubs, large ornamental grasses and agressive perennials that spread by underground runners.

Your plant choices will be limited by what plants are available in the nurseries in your area but you can start a wish list by visiting our Native Plant database. By performing a Combination Search on that page for New York, dry conditions (that is generally the case on a slope) and part sun you can generate plant lists of each plant type.  The plants on the lists are linked to detailed information pages with images.

Here are some plants selected from those lists that should work for you.

Perennials (Herb)

Anaphalis margaritacea (western pearly everlasting)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

 Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca (narrowleaf evening-primrose)

Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket)

Grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens) 

Shrubs

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)


Anaphalis margaritacea

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca

Tradescantia ohiensis

Bouteloua curtipendula

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Comptonia peregrina

Rhus aromatica

Rosa carolina
3

Vaccinium angustifolium

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for part shade in Albany NY
July 02, 2014 - Hello! I'm looking for: a native ground cover, mostly shade with only some morning sun, on a slope, edible is preferred but not necessity, mostly clay type soil for the Albany, NY area. Thanks for yo...
view the full question and answer

Narrow strip of groundcover from Sonora TX
April 29, 2013 - I have an area that is right under my patio about 12 feet by 1 ft. I'm looking for something to plant in there. It has afternoon sun, morning shade. I live in SW Texas so it is hot. but would like so...
view the full question and answer

Low native groundcover for Wicksburg/Newton AL
July 29, 2009 - I am laying a rather wide-set flagstone pathway in our back weeds (planning some native grass and wildflowers in the fall on either side of the path). I am looking for some very low native groundcover...
view the full question and answer

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

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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center