The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover On Dry, Shady Hill

Question: I'm in upstate New York - Can you recommend a low growing ground cover for a hill with sandy soil, and alot of shade from large trees. Would periwinkle or vinca flower in sandy soil?

Answer: Periwinkle (Vinca minor) would have a good chance of doing well in the situation you've described, as would English Ivy (Hedera helix). In both instances, however, you want to try to enrich the soil with ample organic matter such as compost, rotted leaves, or aged stable manure and bedding. This would help with moisture retention while they become established. You would also have to try to water them while they become established, usually this takes at least a year and maybe two. Mulching in between the plants while you wait for them to fill in can help keep the soil moist and cool as well as help control weeds.

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