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

Sunday - July 03, 2016

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Groundcover for Maryland Slope in Deer Country
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a 20-30% grade hill in Maryland. I am looking for a groundcover plant (for example ivy) that I can plant on the hill. I have the following issues: clay soil, deer, full sun, limited water source - rain water, need to prevent hill erosion, and a weed problem - hoping to choke them out with my groundcover plants.

ANSWER:

Your challenges narrowed the list of possibilties significantly! First a look at the Native Plant Database for Maryland plants that grow in full sun and dry conditions (because of the slope) revealed a substantial list of possible groundcover plants that fall into the short shrub or vine category. Then the list was used to check the deer resistant species list and about half of the plants were removed. The end result is below. The vines will perhaps be a better groundcover plant than the shrubs to choke out your existing weeds. You may need to trial some plants in a small area to see which ones work the best for your situation. Good luck!

Some smaller native shrubs for full sun and dry conditions include ...

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)

Rhus trilobata (fragrant sumac)

Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)

Vines for use as possible groundcover plants ...

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Skunkbush
Rhus trilobata

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Short, Shady Plants for South Carolina
February 24, 2015 - I have a shady part of my mother's garden that doesn't drain very well. Do you have any suggestions as to what type of flowers or plants (preferably native to S.C.) that aren't red that might grow ...
view the full question and answer

Companion plants for irises
April 22, 2007 - Hello...what do you suggest as a companion plant for irises? I live in the Texas Hill Country. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

What is wrong with cultivars of native plants?
May 26, 2009 - What is wrong with cultivars of native plants? My state native plant society won't allow cultivars at their annual sale, and the native plant nursery from which I order only offers the species. But a...
view the full question and answer

Ground covers for a shady spot in central Texas
February 23, 2016 - I reside in Austin, Texas and need advice on my xeriscaping project. Portions of my front yard have always been a challenge to get grass to grow, so I have xeriscaped that area with Fairland Pink gran...
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Cardinal Flower in Thornwood NY
October 01, 2009 - I have 6 Cardinal Flower plants in planters. They have mulch on top to keep them moist. Can they stay in the planters all winter? Do I cut the stalks before winter comes or leave as is?
view the full question and answer

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