Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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 - November 28, 2015

From: River Falls, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Pollinators, Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Hillside Groundcovers for Pollinating Insects in Wisconsin
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for native plants for a project around Hudson, Wisconsin. We are to choose native plants to be seeded next spring 2016. They are to be planted on a hillside under and around solar panels (partial shade and 0-2 feet tall). It must provide vegetation for pollinating insects and look appealing. since on hillside, must control soil erosion and low-maintenance, meaning does not require frequent mowing. preferably perennials. Any suggestion will help greatly?

ANSWER:

There are many native, perennial plants that should work well under and around your solar panels on your hillside that will also be a habitat for pollinating insects, control soil erosion and be low maintenance. 

A search through the Native Plant Database on our website produced these for you to investigate (a few low shrubs are also included):

Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaf pussytoes)

Anaphalis margaritacea (Western pearly evelasting)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf coreopsis)

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)

Geum triflorum (old man's whiskers)

Glandularia bipinnatifida (purple prairie verbena)

Lobelia spicata (palespike lobelia)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Phlox subulata (creeping phlox)

Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)

Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)

Rubus pubescens (dwarf red blackberry)

Tradescantia occidentalis (prairie spiderwort)

Viola pubescens (downy yellow violet)

Each plant webpage has information about growing conditions, sources and plant characteristics.

 

From the Image Gallery


Woman's tobacco
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Western pearly everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Virginia strawberry
Fragaria virginiana

Old man's whiskers
Geum triflorum

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pale-spike lobelia
Lobelia spicata

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Gray goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis

Dwarf red blackberry
Rubus pubescens

Prairie spiderwort
Tradescantia occidentalis

Downy yellow violet
Viola pubescens

More Erosion Control Questions

Low growing annuals for OK shaded slope.
January 26, 2016 - I have a heavily shaded slope on the north, west, and south side of my home. Can you suggest some low growing annuals (flowering, or not) that would allow me to beautify my property.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Minnesota
October 21, 2008 - I live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I have a steep slope in back yard which gets considerable rain runoff from the homes above me. What plants/shrubs/trees could I plant on the slope to stop the...
view the full question and answer

How to stabilize a slope under Red Oaks?
March 19, 2013 - A portion our front "yard" (20x40 feet) is a limestone hillside shaded by 3 large spanish oaks. The small amount of grass holding onto the hillside is now gone from the drought, and the hill has er...
view the full question and answer

Plants for controlling erosion on a cleared slope in Ohio
April 29, 2009 - I live in Cincinnati, OH. BP owns a pipeline which runs thru part of my property. They clear out all the large trees every few years, so that it is visible from the air. Our area is surrounded by M...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.