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

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


Woman's tobacco
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

Scouring-rush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale

More Groundcovers Questions

Flowering Shade Plant for California
February 21, 2016 - I have a house north facing that has a "flower bed" in front that unfortunately is shaded 100% of the time. There are roses in the bed currently (they came with the house) but they do poorly. We are...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow between concrete pavers on the patio in Rock Hill, SC..
December 31, 2014 - I have a patio of concrete pavers, about 2 feet by 2 feet each. It gets very little sun. No morning sun at all. The zoysia grass we have between the pavers now does not grow well at all. Do you ha...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover beneath a maple
January 24, 2009 - I am looking for something to spread out in the shade of a maple tree. I have tried lily of the valley, ferns, pachysandra, ivy, hosta, euonymus.. nothing spreads out.
view the full question and answer

Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
June 03, 2010 - I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a slope in San Antonio TX
July 02, 2013 - Slope growing, no or little irrigation ground cover. The slope is probably greater than 30%. The area is currently a construction road at the base, cut into the hill. To re-establish with a ground cov...
view the full question and answer

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