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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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Tuesday - April 16, 2013

From: Statesville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Evergreen groundcover for full sun in North Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an area that is in full sun and I need to know the best low growing evergreen that possibly flowers to help cover where a ditch/water drainage pipe is below the planting area.

ANSWER:

From your description I can't tell if the area is moist or sometimes flooded by water in the ditch below if there is rain, so I am recommending some plants that like moist soils and some that will grow in drier soils. You should carefully read the GROWING CONDITIONS section on the species page of each of the plants I am suggesting to see if they match your site.

Antennaria plantaginifolia (Plantain-leaf pussytoes)  Here are more photos and information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Asclepias humistrata (Pinewoods milkweed)  All Asclepias species are hosts to monarch butterfly larvae.  Here is more information for MonarchWatch.org.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) doesn't have showy blooms but it makes a very nice groundcover in sun, part shade and shade.  Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers.

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis) flowers in March, April and May.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Dryopteris cristata (Crested woodfern) doesn't flower, but is one of the few ferns that do well in full sun.  Here are more photos and information from Connecticut Botanical Society.

Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox)  Here are more photos and information from North Carolina State University.

Sibbaldiopsis tridentata (Shrubby fivefingers) Here is more from the New England Wild Flower Society.

Sisyrinchium minus (Dwarf blue-eyed grass)

Packera aurea (Golden ragwort)  Here are more photos and information from Connecticut Botanical Society.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage)  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Phlox carolina (Carolina phlox)  Here are photos and more information from Alabama Plants.

Equisetum hyemale (Canuela)  If the area stays wet, then this plant would grow nicely there.  It has no flowers, but an interesting texture.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Plantain-leaf pussytoes
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Pinewoods milkweed
Asclepias humistrata

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Crested woodfern
Dryopteris cristata

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Shrubby five-fingers
Sibbaldiopsis tridentata

Dwarf blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium minus

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Carolina phlox
Phlox carolina

Scouringrush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale

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