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

Wednesday - June 29, 2011

From: Brewster, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Low groundcovers for MA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We are developing ground mounted solar installations in southeastern MA. We are seeking advice for native groundcover species for our various regions (coastal meadows, etc). Species like bearberry and low-bush blueberry are typical. Are there others (and perhaps some annuals) that you can recommend? We must keep to less than 24" to avoid shading the panels.

ANSWER:

You will ultimately be limited in your choices by what plants are available in the nurseries in your area, but can begin the process by visiting our Native Plant Database.  If you do a Combination Search selecting All Habits, Sun, Moist or Dry Conditions (depending on your site) and a height of 1-3 feet, it will generate a list of plants that you can consider for your project.  It will give you perennials, annuals, grasses and small shrubs.  You will find Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry) and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) on that list.  

Here are some other tough plants native to your area to consider (you will have to verify moisture requirements as we have not selected for that):

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Coreopsis verticillata (Threadleaf coreopsis)

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry)

Hierochloe odorata (Sweetgrass)

Iris versicolor (Harlequin blueflag)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)

Potentilla arguta (Tall cinquefoil)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve (Smooth blue aster)

Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Lingonberry)

Planting a mixed meadow of plants like these will not interfere with your solar installation but will be attractive and provide wildlife habitat benefits.  That's a win/win!

 

From the Image Gallery


Late lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Threadleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata

Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Sweetgrass
Hierochloe odorata

Harlequin blueflag
Iris versicolor

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Tall cinquefoil
Potentilla arguta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

More Groundcovers Questions

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant, possibly Justicia pilosella, for groundcover
October 10, 2007 - I'm newly relocated to Texas and find I have a yard with three major types of green growing. Close to the house (and mostly shaded) is St. Augustine. Furthest out front, (unshaded) is the Bermudagra...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance, native plants for sloping drive near Philadelphia
October 20, 2004 - My cabin is located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. I am looking for low maintenance plants that would look good on the sides of a driveway that slopes upward. This is a potential project fo...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for morning sun in Pembroke MA
October 07, 2009 - Could you please suggest native groundcover,plants/shrubs/grasses for eastern facing slope which gets morning sun? It is my front yard which slopes down toward driveway so it would be a major focal po...
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