Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 01, 2012

From: Brockton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for Massachusetts campus
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our campus is converting to more sustainable landscaping practices, and in the process we are planting native plants and removing lawn. Thus we would like to replace the lawn, and some invasive groundcovers such as Vinca and Pachysandra, between the buildings and the sidewalk with hardy groundcovers. Many of the buildings have an overhang, so part of the ground will be quite dry and part will be exposed to moisture, and of course there are a variety of sun exposures.

ANSWER:

Congratulations for moving to sustainable native plants to replace your invasive groundcovers!  Here are some suggestions for groundcovers that could be used in combination to fill your various sun and soil moisture situations.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is evergreen, grows in sun, part shade and shade and in both dry and moist soil.

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry dogwood) is semi-evergreen depending on the severity of the winter and grows in moist soil in sun, part shade and shade.

Lycopodium digitatum (Fan clubmoss) prefers dry shade and part shade and is evergreen.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) will grow in dry and moist habitats in shade and part shade and is evergreen.

Sedum ternatum (Wild stonecrop) grows in moist part shade and is described as semi-evergreen or evergreen.  In Massachusetts, it is probably semi-evergreen depending on the severity of the winter.

Gaultheria procumbens (Checkerberry) for part shade and shade in dry and moist soil and is evergreen.

Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper) is evergreen and likes sun and part shade and dry rocky soils.  Here are photos from North Carolina State University.  You can read about several different cultivars described on the University of Connecticut Plant Database.

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Fan clubmoss
Lycopodium digitatum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Woodland stonecrop
Sedum ternatum

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for roadside in Elk Rapids MI
July 13, 2010 - Elk Rapids, MI (Lake Michigan, East Grand Traverse Bay) Greetings We are looking for a native ground cover that will cover an area along a roadside, about 100 feet from the Lake Michigan shorelin...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for groundcover in Bossier, LA
February 18, 2009 - What kind of ground cover can I plant on a slope that gets full sun?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for gravesite in Maryland
March 13, 2013 - I know this is very unusual question but here I go. I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and I am looking for a low ground cover for my grandparents grave. The soil is very sandy and I am looking...
view the full question and answer

Grass Groundcover for Georgia Hillside
July 07, 2016 - I am looking for a grass to cover a hillside area down to a lake. It is mostly sunny in the spring & summer, but has no moisture except any rain that falls. I am not interested in having to mow it all...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Orange County, Florida
April 14, 2012 - I live in Central FL (Winter Park)and I have a small, mostly sunny (no trees) backyard next to a large in-ground swimming pool which fills up with the leaves of my neighbor's oak trees. The backyard ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.