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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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Sunday - June 30, 2013

From: Plain Dealing, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers, Ferns, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might stay green all year. Ivy would be okay. Graves are in the shade under a large oak tree. Can you recommend anything please?

ANSWER:

To find the following recommendations, I went to our Louisiana Recommended page that lists plants native to your area that are commercially available for landscaping.  You might like to visit the page to see if there are others in the list that you would be interested in using. 

Asplenium platyneuron (Ebony spleenwort) is an evergreen fern that grows in shade and part shade and is drought-tolerant, but does better in moist soils.

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) is an evergreen fern that grows to 1-2 feet but requires moist well-drained soil in the shade.

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) grows to 1.5 feet and makes a good evergreen groundcover in shade and part shade in moist soil.  It can bloom from February through June.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) is a perennial with evergreen basal leaves that grows in shade, part shade and sun to 1-2 feet.

Phlox pilosa (Downy phlox) is a perennial that grows 1-2 feet high with pink flowers in part shade and sun.

Spigelia marilandica (Woodland pinkroot) is a perennial that grows in part shade to 1-2 feet.

Here are a couple of shrubs that you might like to use near the graves.

Leucothoe axillaris (Coastal doghobble) is an evergreen shrub that grows to 2-4 feet in shade and part shade.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is an evergreen shrub that grows 6-12 feet in part shade and sun.   There are dwarf varieties available.

 

From the Image Gallery


Ebony spleenwort
Asplenium platyneuron

Coastal doghobble
Leucothoe axillaris

Coastal doghobble
Leucothoe axillaris

Downy phlox
Phlox pilosa

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Woodland pinkroot
Spigelia marilandica

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

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