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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 - 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

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