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

Native plants and grasses for river bank from Rosanky TX
February 19, 2014 - Our property owners association would like to know what native plants/grasses to plant on the Blanco River bank in our river park to help prevent erosion. Some banks are steep and some areas are a gra...
view the full question and answer

Growing mosses in the Pacific Northwest
February 05, 2015 - Can you provide information on types of Mosses as well as Microferns in the Northwest Mountain region near Seattle? I assume that Mosses and Microferns are more resilient to foot traffic (i.e.Cush...
view the full question and answer

Possible ground covers under pine trees in Illinois
April 18, 2006 - Have pine trees in front of house. No luck with the lawn around them....was told it's because of ground acidity. Any tips on how to get a lawn to grow there? If not, can you suggest some ground cover...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for East Texas
November 07, 2010 - I live in the country of east Texas and wish to grow native ground covers around my house and property. I have no way to control this growth, as I have no fences or borders. I have sandy soil and th...
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcovers for Spartanburg, SC
November 23, 2013 - I need suggestions for native groundcovers for Spartanburg, SC. The area to be covered is a fairly steep slope, with a lot of afternoon sun. In the morning, some areas remain shaded until noon whil...
view the full question and answer

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