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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.

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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 - July 05, 2014

From: White Lake, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Filler for between flagstones in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a natural shoreline project underway (replacing a seawall) with all native Michigan plants replacing the lawn as well. A flagstone walkway is going in and I wanted "moss" type filler in between the stones. The native plant contractor is suggesting plants that are all at least 2" tall and spread, so one would be walking on them, not at all the look I am going for. Here are a few of his suggestions: Carex pensylvanica for a sedge/grass or Blue-eyed grass (iris-relative), and/ or a forb like Yarrow, Strawberry, Harebell, Horsemint, Physotegia and MadDog Skullcap (Scutellaria), also. QUESTION: Is there not a native plant that is small and compact that can be used for the flagstone? I am about to throw in the hat and say no plant material between the stones on the flagstone walkway.

ANSWER:

Below are plants that are native to Michigan that are all grow less than 8 inches high and should do well between flagstones:

Sedum ternatum (Woodland stonecrop) sounds the most like what you are looking for.   It grows in part shade in moist soil and grows 4 to 8 inches high.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Here are a few other suggestions:

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) will grow well if the area is shaded and damp.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox) would work in sun and part shade.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Potentilla simplex (Common cinquefoil) grows in part shade and shade.   Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers.

Waldsteinia fragarioides (Appalachian barren strawberry) grows in part shade to full sun and does well in dry conditions.  Here is more informtion from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Gaultheria hispidula (Creeping snowberry) is a delicate, creeping evergreen shrub that grows to 6 inches.  Here is more information from Minnesota Wildflowers.

 

From the Image Gallery


Woodland stonecrop
Sedum ternatum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Common cinquefoil
Potentilla simplex

Appalachian barren strawberry
Waldsteinia fragarioides

Creeping snowberry
Gaultheria hispidula

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