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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - July 30, 2010

From: Brookville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Low growing groundcovers for pond banks in Brookville PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are some good low growing ground cover plants for pond banks? Zone 5, mostly sun, preferably something I could start from seed? Hopefully low maintenance & non-evergreen. Perennial & hardy preferred.

ANSWER:

We are going to look for some plants that can tolerate very wet soil, and will stay fairly low, native to the area around Jefferson County, PA, USDA Hardiness Zones 5a to 5b. You said "mostly sun," so we will call that "part sun," which we consider 2 to 6 hours of sun a day. Our biggest challenge was the "low" part, but we did manage to find 11 suggestions that will grow under the conditions you stated. All are perennial, most if not all are non-evergreen. Follow each plant link to the page on that plant in our Native Plant Database to learn how to propagate it, growing conditions and whether it is perennial or annual and evergreen.

We found a website for the North American Water Garden Society of South Central Pennsylvania which might have closer to home information on the maintenance of a pond, or where to find plants. You might also go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant seed companies, nurseries and consultants in your general area. You may contact them to see if they have what you want or have other suggestions.

Low growing plants for moist soil in Central Pennsylvania:

Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty)

Dalibarda repens (robin runaway)

Fragaria vesca (woodland strawberry)

Galium triflorum (fragrant bedstraw)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Linnaea borealis (twinflower)

Parnassia glauca (fen grass of Parnassus)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet)

Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Images from our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Claytonia caroliniana

Dalibarda repens

Fragaria vesca

Galium triflorum

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Linnaea borealis

Scrophularia lanceolata

Sanguinaria canadensis

Viola cucullata

Dichondra carolinensis

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

 

 

 

 

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