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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 23, 2011

From: Indianapolis, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Groundcovers
Title: Drought tolerant plants for IN
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What are some plants that would do well in an east facing area near my front door? I live in Indianapolis IN. I need something that is drought resistant and will fill in a 4x3 foot walled off area that is in the nook created by my steps leading up to my bi-level home. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER:

In a small space like that you will want to keep it fairly simple but will want something that will be attractive as you enter your home. I would recommend choosing one shrub and then underplanting it with short perennials or ground cover.

Although you will ultimately be limited by what plants are available in your local nurseries, you can begin the selection process by visiting our Native Plant Database.  Do a Combination Search and select: Indiana, the plant type (shrubs and herbaceous perennials) and your conditions and your size requirements & preference.  The list has links to detailed information pages with images.

Some plants that meet these criteria are:

Shrubs

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry)

Viburnum acerifolium (Mapleleaf viburnum)

Perennials (less than 1 foot tall)

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)

Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Roundlobe hepatica)

Maianthemum stellatum (Starry false lily of the valley) (this can be a bit taller than one foot)

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)

Viola pedata (Birdfoot violet)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry dogwood) (one of my all time favourites, but it requires more moisture)

Here are some photos from our image gallery:

 

From the Image Gallery


Common ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Highbush blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum

Mapleleaf viburnum
Viburnum acerifolium

Virginia strawberry
Fragaria virginiana

Roundlobe hepatica
Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa

Starry false lily of the valley
Maianthemum stellatum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Birdfoot violet
Viola pedata

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for heavily traveled walkway from Redondo Beach CA
April 23, 2013 - I am looking for a drought resistant ground cover that you can walk on. I live on a south facing, sunny corner lot, 2 blocks from the beach where people park and need to cross over to get to the sidew...
view the full question and answer

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
view the full question and answer

Flowering groundcover for Indiana
May 25, 2009 - I live in southern Indiana and am looking for a nice flowering groundcover that will overcome the grass. It is on a hill that is very hard to mow.
view the full question and answer

Groundcover and Butterfly attractants for LaRue Texas
May 02, 2012 - LaRue, TX - Would like a native low growing plant as a groundcover. I would like it for six+ hours of sun, drought tolerant, and ones that butterflies might enjoy, while deer won't. Some winter int...
view the full question and answer

Source for Dichondra from Hillsboro TX
November 26, 2012 - Where can I get dichondra and info about it?
view the full question and answer

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