Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
11 ratings

Monday - May 28, 2012

From: Atlanta, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What would you suggest?

ANSWER:

With both shade and a slope to deal with, we are going to look for low-growing plants, all native to Fulton Co., GA. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the areas where they are being grown. The reason for this is that plants that have become accustomed to soils, climate, rainfall and available sunlight for centuries will be more likely to survive with less maintenance, water and fertilizer, thus conserving resources and cutting down on maintenance.

To do this we will go to our Native Plant Database. Using the Combination Search, we will select on Georgia,  Habit - herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) and shade (2 hours or less of sun) under Light Requirements, and 0-1 ft. under anticipated mature height. You can refine this search by using more specific times for sunlight availability, heights, soil moisture,etc. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each of those webpages, under Additional Sources, there is a link to the USDA webpage on that plant. We will look at that to determine which plants are native to Fulton County, before we put them on your list.

Low Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Slope in Atlanta GA:

Antennaria plantaginifolia (Plantain-leaf pussytoes)     USDA map

Chamaecrista fasciculata (Partridge pea)    USDA map

Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe (Southern green and gold)      USDA map

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)       USDA map

Hexastylis arifolia (Littlebrownjug)       USDA map

Houstonia caerulea (Azure bluet)        USDA map

 

From the Image Gallery


Woman's tobacco
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata

Southern green and gold
Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe

Virginia strawberry
Fragaria virginiana

Little brown jug
Hexastylis arifolia

Azure bluet
Houstonia caerulea

More Erosion Control Questions

Need plants for steep slope in Knoxville, TN.
January 10, 2013 - I have several steep banks that have to be weed-eated each year every week. Do you know if there are any kinds of ground cover that would take over the weeds on these steep dangerous banks. I live in ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
January 30, 2012 - What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent bank erosion in Virginia
April 02, 2009 - I am looking for good native plant choices for a steep river bank. My driveway is at the top of this slope, so I will need to avoid any plants that would cause erosion. I would prefer low shrubs.
view the full question and answer

Erosion Solution for Lorton, VA
February 07, 2014 - We have a steep slope in our common area of our homeowners association. Trees that were planted have died. It is a large area around a pond. What should we plant that will hold the soil? The soil...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control along creek in South Carolina
October 26, 2010 - We have a creek that runs thru our property and it is eroding our rip rap. The creek runs head on into an embankment which is causing the worse issue. Is there anything we can plant to help stop the e...
view the full question and answer

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