The Q&A Archives: Low Groundcovers for Sunny, Sandy Slope

Question: I have a very sunny, very sandy soil, on a very steep bank or hill. I want to cover it with a ground cover. Vinca minor does not thrive well with heavy sun, low water. I was told Delosperma cooperi would do well there. Your catalogs show it as liking dry sunny spots. Should I order and plant it? I have tried crown vetch, but it gets too bushy for a low ground cover and crowds out any small ornaments that grow in the vicinity. Nancy Martino Guilderland, NY

Answer: Delosperma cooperi (ice plant) is a great plant for the conditions you described (sunny, dry, sandy soil), but it is only hardy to 0F unless mulched heavily in winter. Since you're in Albany County, I'm assuming the winter temperatures get much belowzero, so unless you are willing to protect it, it probably wouldn't be a good choice. You may want to try Ajuga instead. It grows well in full sun, is low growing and once established, will do okay in dry areas. Just give it plenty of water, if Mother Nature doesn't, the first year.

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