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
1 rating

Friday - August 10, 2012

From: Greeley, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcovers for area under blue spruce in Colorado
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 40 ft blue spruce limbed up 6 ft in my yard on the west in Greeley, CO (50 mi N Denver, zone 4 or 5). It gets some sun underneath in the later afternoon and evening. Can you suggest 4 to 5 ground covers that might do well under the tree? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Here are suggestions for groundcovers for shade/part shade that should work well under your blue spruce.  All the species are known to occur in Weld County or in adjacent counties in Colorado. 

Mahonia repens (Creeping barberry) is evergreen.  Here is more information from Montana Plant-Life.org.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is evergreen.  Here is more information from BluePlanetBiomes.org.

Linnaea borealis (Twinflower) is evergreen.  Here is more information from Rook.org.

Paxistima myrsinites (Mountain lover) is evergreen.  Here is more information from SWColoradoWildflowers.org.

The remainder of the suggestions are deciduous or, at best, semi-evergreen.  They could add interest and color for the spring, summer and fall.

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

Actaea rubra (Red baneberry)

Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly-everlasting)

Aquilegia caerulea (Colorado blue columbine)

Aquilegia flavescens (Yellow mountain columbine)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry dogwood)

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Creeping barberry
Mahonia repens

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Twinflower
Linnaea borealis

Oregon boxleaf
Paxistima myrsinites

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Red baneberry
Actaea rubra

Western pearly everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea

Colorado blue columbine
Aquilegia coerulea

Yellow mountain columbine
Aquilegia flavescens

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

More Groundcovers Questions

Oxalis drummondii as ground cover
May 11, 2007 - We live in Austin, Texas. A sunny, dry swath of grass (originally St. Augustine) has been invaded by pink wood-sorrel (a large-leafed, mounding kind). I love the wood-sorrel, and would like to use it ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Help with control of small, invasive groundcover
April 16, 2012 - I have a very invasive ground cover creeping into my yard. I've tried to identify it and it's similar to creeping charlie or garlic mustard. Leaves are triangular with jagged edges, small purple f...
view the full question and answer

Natural groundcovers beneath live oaks in Austin
July 14, 2008 - We are moving to a home in NW Austin set in a forest of live oaks (15 of them). What plants are the natural groundcovers? We want to replace the 'grass' completely. There is no sun so we don't b...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for Kingsland TX
October 11, 2012 - I am looking for a list of native ground covers and grasses(not lawn grass).
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center