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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Grass installation with plugs from Austin
February 05, 2013 - As much as I would love to use the seed mixture you suggest for Austin, I am not physically able to do the needed prep and was unable last year to get a professional. No one would even call me back wh...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Weeds with Native Plants in Dallas Area
May 29, 2011 - I have a large oak tree in my front yard and lots and lots of miscellaneous weeds (clover, chickweed, stickers, etc.). I am wanting to grow grass in my front yard, that is shaded pretty much most of t...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shallow soil in hillside north of San Antonio
March 27, 2010 - I live in the Hill Country north of San Antonio. The yard around the house has very shallow soil and is sloped. Bermuda has a hard time maintaining. Are there any other low growing ground covers that ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
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

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