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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - May 28, 2012

From: Atlanta, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What would you suggest?

ANSWER:

With both shade and a slope to deal with, we are going to look for low-growing plants, all native to Fulton Co., GA. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the areas where they are being grown. The reason for this is that plants that have become accustomed to soils, climate, rainfall and available sunlight for centuries will be more likely to survive with less maintenance, water and fertilizer, thus conserving resources and cutting down on maintenance.

To do this we will go to our Native Plant Database. Using the Combination Search, we will select on Georgia,  Habit - herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) and shade (2 hours or less of sun) under Light Requirements, and 0-1 ft. under anticipated mature height. You can refine this search by using more specific times for sunlight availability, heights, soil moisture,etc. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each of those webpages, under Additional Sources, there is a link to the USDA webpage on that plant. We will look at that to determine which plants are native to Fulton County, before we put them on your list.

Low Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Slope in Atlanta GA:

Antennaria plantaginifolia (Plantain-leaf pussytoes)     USDA map

Chamaecrista fasciculata (Partridge pea)    USDA map

Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe (Southern green and gold)      USDA map

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)       USDA map

Hexastylis arifolia (Littlebrownjug)       USDA map

Houstonia caerulea (Azure bluet)        USDA map

 

From the Image Gallery


Woman's tobacco
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata

Southern green and gold
Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe

Virginia strawberry
Fragaria virginiana

Little brown jug
Hexastylis arifolia

Azure bluet
Houstonia caerulea

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