En Español

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?


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

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


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


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

More Vines Questions

Vine with red berries in North Carolina
November 04, 2011 - I found a plant/ vine pink teardrop with red berries in the Pusgah Forest in North Carolina and no on knows the name of it. I have a photo, can you help?
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for shade in Southern California
May 11, 2012 - Flowering climbing plant for shade in Palm Desert, CA.
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a vine to grow on a fence in Crossville, TN
April 28, 2010 - I would like your suggestions on a vine to grow on a fence in part shade that would look good in winter as well as summer, if possible, for a site in Crossville, TN.
view the full question and answer

10 year old Wisteria fails to bloom in Rockwall, TX.
May 15, 2013 - I love wisteria. I had four (4) wisteria plants professionally planted at least ten (10) years ago. These wisteria plants have NEVER bloomed. Why not?
view the full question and answer

Vines for Austin, Texas
July 23, 2010 - I have heavy clay soil that is very wet during rainy season. I would like to plant climbing, blooming native. Crossvine and trumpet creeper are doing well but need another vine for an area that gets f...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center