The Q&A Archives: Groundcover for Planter in Shade

Question: I'm looking for a hardy, fast spreading ground cover that I can plant in a raised box under my tree. I'd like it to be ornamental, possibly having flowers (pink) or foliage that may turn a different color in the fall for decoration. The box is in my front yard.

Answer: There are lots of hardy groundcovers out there, but whether the plant will survive the winter in a raised container depends on the size of the planter. The insulating effect of the soil protects plant crowns and roots so they can regrow the following spring. In a planter or container, you lose a great deal of that protection. The plants in the center of a large volume planter should survive the winter, but those along the edge are at risk for winter kill unless you insulate the planter well with haybales, or can sink it into the ground in the fall.

All of the following have pink flowers: Ajuga reptans 'Pink Elf' has glossy, bronzy foliage; Lamium 'Pink Pewter' has variegated leaves, and L. 'Orchid Frost' has deeper pink blossoms and green foliage. Tiarella 'Cygnet' leaves changes color in fall, as do most foam flowers. I hope these suggestions are helpful for you -- enjoy!

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