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 - April 01, 2012

From: Brockton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for Massachusetts campus
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our campus is converting to more sustainable landscaping practices, and in the process we are planting native plants and removing lawn. Thus we would like to replace the lawn, and some invasive groundcovers such as Vinca and Pachysandra, between the buildings and the sidewalk with hardy groundcovers. Many of the buildings have an overhang, so part of the ground will be quite dry and part will be exposed to moisture, and of course there are a variety of sun exposures.

ANSWER:

Congratulations for moving to sustainable native plants to replace your invasive groundcovers!  Here are some suggestions for groundcovers that could be used in combination to fill your various sun and soil moisture situations.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is evergreen, grows in sun, part shade and shade and in both dry and moist soil.

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry dogwood) is semi-evergreen depending on the severity of the winter and grows in moist soil in sun, part shade and shade.

Lycopodium digitatum (Fan clubmoss) prefers dry shade and part shade and is evergreen.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) will grow in dry and moist habitats in shade and part shade and is evergreen.

Sedum ternatum (Wild stonecrop) grows in moist part shade and is described as semi-evergreen or evergreen.  In Massachusetts, it is probably semi-evergreen depending on the severity of the winter.

Gaultheria procumbens (Checkerberry) for part shade and shade in dry and moist soil and is evergreen.

Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper) is evergreen and likes sun and part shade and dry rocky soils.  Here are photos from North Carolina State University.  You can read about several different cultivars described on the University of Connecticut Plant Database.

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Fan clubmoss
Lycopodium digitatum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Woodland stonecrop
Sedum ternatum

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for heavy dog traffic in Huntsville TX
July 23, 2010 - We have recently moved to Huntsville, TX where our backyard is very shady and has only a small patch of St. Augustine grass and the rest is a dry, sand-like soil. We also have 2 Great Danes and 2 Pugs...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn in Carson City, NV
October 15, 2013 - I planted habiturf just south of Reno NV May 5. First two months no or little germination because nite temps too cold. Now doing ok except battling purslane and redstem filaree.. SO, I notice bare/spa...
view the full question and answer

Deer proof ground cover for sunny area in Mississippi
June 09, 2012 - I am looking for a low ground cover that will thrive in a sunny location and is deer proof
view the full question and answer

Native plants for memorial garden in Michigan
March 04, 2008 - I want to start a memorial garden for my daughter. I live in northern Michigan and the area has very tall white pines we have pruned them up about 15' so the area does get partial sun. Which plants w...
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

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