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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.

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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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Saturday - May 11, 2013

From: Stamford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs, Vines
Title: Groundcover for Sunny Slope in CT
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I need a plant to use as groundcover and for erosion control on a sunny slope in southwestern Connecticut. Any suggestions other than juniper?

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

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

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)

Clematis virginiana (Devil’s darning needles)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Hiedra creeper)

Vitis riparia (Riverbank grape)

And some herbaceous plants to consider:

Desmodium canadense (showy tick trefoil)

Pycnanthemum incanum (hoary mountain mint)

Rubus pubescens (dwarf red blackberry) likes moister soils.

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

 

From the Image Gallery


Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

Showy tick trefoil
Desmodium canadense

Hoary mountain mint
Pycnanthemum incanum

Dwarf red blackberry
Rubus pubescens

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

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