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

Monday - April 29, 2013

From: Towson, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Shrubs, Vines, Wildflowers
Title: Groundcover for a Sunny, Steep Slope in Maryland
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I need a groundcover for a sunny dry steep slope in Towson, Maryland. The slope goes from the parking lot down to a deck area.

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: Maryland, Habit – vine, Duration – perennial, Light requirement – sun, and Soil moisture – dry (because of the slope).

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

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) woody vine to 50 ft. Showy orange-red, trumpet-shaped blooms in spring. Semi-evergreen.

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) aggressive woody vine to 35 ft. Showy orange-red, trumpet-shaped blooms at the end of the branches throughout the summer.

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) woody vine to 30 ft. In the fall showy orange capsules split to reveal crimson arils. Deciduous.

Clematis virginiana (Devil’s darning needles) fine-textured vine to 15 ft. A profusion of small white flowers in summer followed by a plume-like feathery achene. Deciduous.

Clitoria mariana (Atlantic pigeonwings) twining vine with lavender-pink pea-like flowers. Deciduous.

Vitis riparia (riverbank grape) deciduous vine, fast growing and long lived. Bluish-black berries relished by wildlife.

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

Artemisia ludoviciana (Louisiana Artemisia) aromatic perennial, 1-2 ft. tall with silver foliage.

Rhus trilobata (skunkbush sumac) low spreading deciduous shrub to 3 ft tall. Yellowish clusters of blooms are followed by bright crimson berries on female plants. Colorful fall foliage.

Rubus trivialis (dewberry) sprawling shrub with white flowers followed by small edible berries.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Atlantic pigeonwings
Clitoria mariana

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

Louisiana artemisia
Artemisia ludoviciana

Louisiana artemisia
Artemisia ludoviciana

Dewberry
Rubus trivialis

Dewberry
Rubus trivialis

More Wildflowers Questions

Monarda species seed for heirloom gardens in Wales
June 15, 2012 - Hello. I am trying to obtain seeds for the following Monarda species: - barletti, lindheimeri, russeliana, and viridissima. Our address is Wales, United Kingdom and we are hoping to obtain the full c...
view the full question and answer

Does Texas Thistle have any scent from Austin
March 26, 2010 - Does the Texas Thistle have any particular aroma. We are doing a report, and cannot find the answer to this question anywhere. We have also driven all around local Austin, and cannot find any on the...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Gay Feather
September 22, 2005 - Can I transplant the flower Gay Feather any time or should I wait until the plant dies this winter?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a slope in PA
April 16, 2011 - I've got a steep southeast-facing slope near the house that is mostly overrun with day lilies. It gets plenty of morning sun. I've had some luck with goldenrod and New England aster along the steps ...
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