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Mr. Smarty Plants - Groundcover for rocky slope

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Monday - February 27, 2012

From: Lehi, UT
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for rocky slope
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My house has a very steep and very rocky slope. We have no problems with erosion, its just very unnattractive. There is no way to mow it whatsoever, and we live in a planned community so we can't have anything that grows too tall or becomes "unkempt" looking. Also it butts right up to my lawn so I don't want anything too invasive. Is there ANY low growing ground cover that I can grow in a hard to till area that fits the bill or am I stuck with this ugly rock pile until I can afford to dig it all up and start over?

ANSWER:

Here are several plants that should work as a ground cover on your rocky slope.  You might consider using a combination of different plants to make the area more interesting.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is evergreen and grows less than a foot tall in sun, part shade or shade and in poor rocky soils.

Juniperus communis (Common juniper) can grow as a small tree, but there are varieties that grow less than a foot high and spread as a mat.   It likes full sun and will grow in poor, rocky soils.

Artemisia frigida (Prairie sagewort) grows in poor soil in the sun and makes a good ground cover less than 18 inches high.  Its pollen may be a source of hay fever, however.

Ephedra viridis (Mormon tea) is evergreen and grows in the sun in dry, rocky soils.   Here is more information.

Heuchera parvifolia (Littleleaf alumroot) grows in rocky soils in part shade.

Tiquilia canescens (Woody crinklemat) and here are more photos and information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Common juniper
Juniperus communis

Prairie sagewort
Artemisia frigida

Mormon tea
Ephedra viridis

Littleleaf alumroot
Heuchera parvifolia

Woody crinklemat
Tiquilia canescens

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