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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 28, 2013

From: Des Moines, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs, Vines, Wildflowers
Title: Plants for a Steep, Sunny Slope in Iowa
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for plants native to Iowa for a steep, sunny slope or groundcover.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Iowa, Habit – herb (for herbaceous), Duration – perennial, Light requirement – sun, Soil moisture – dry (because of the slope), Size characteristics – 0-1 ft. and 1-3 ft.

Some of the more drought and sun tolerant possibilities that could be used as steep slope plants include:

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) 3 ft., white blooms in summer.

Anaphalis margaritacea (Western pearly everlasting) 1-3 ft., white blooms (good for drying).

Antennaria plantaginifolia (plaintain-leaf pussytoes) to 1 ft., white blooms in early summer.

Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane) 2-5 ft. groundcover, small pink flowers in summer. Very aggressive.

Callirhoe invulucrata (winecup) sprawling up to 3 ft. wide, white, pink or purple blooms in late spring/early summer.

Oenothera speciosa (pink evening primrose) 1-2 ft., pinkish-white blooms in early summer. Each flower lasting one day. Goes dormant under severe drought.

Phlox pilosa (downy phlox) 1-2 ft. tall, pale pink to lavender flowers in late spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Western pearly everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea

Plantain-leaf pussytoes
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Spreading dogbane
Apocynum androsaemifolium

Spreading dogbane
Apocynum androsaemifolium

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Downy phlox
Phlox pilosa

Downy phlox
Phlox pilosa

More Wildflowers Questions

Curling, Red Leaves on Gaura
July 18, 2013 - My gaura had most of its lower leaves turn red and then fall off. It is July now, I bought and planted it in May where it seemed to do really well growing several more inches tall and blooming nicely....
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Wildflower Meadow Gardening
September 16, 2005 - Good morning! I want to overseed a buffalo lawn that has been down for about a year with a wildflower mix, how would you recommend that we prepare the site.
view the full question and answer

Planting time for wildflower seeds in Denton Co., TX
March 11, 2007 - I live in Denton county, Texas and I purchased 2 lbs of native texas wildflower seed from the local agr. extension. Is it too late to plant now and expect flowers from my seed ? Should I plant anyway...
view the full question and answer

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on books for Southwest New Mexico
November 01, 2004 - Which book would you reccommend for Native plants and flowers for Southwest New Mexico - Silver City area?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center