The Q&A Archives: Groundcover Choice

Question: I live in Northwest Washington State. I have a row of lilacs along my fence spaced about 8 feet trunk to trunk. This area gets sun morning-afternoon then shade. I want to add a grouncover to lay in the space between the trees that not only is vibrant in the spring/summer, but keeps some foilage/color in the fall also. Any recomendations for the empty ground space.

Answer: There are a number of plants you can use for groundcover under your lilacs. Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' has maplelike, rich purplish leaves and white flowers in late spring to early summer. The foliage remains all winter long for added interest. Vinca minor is a natural for partly shady/partly sunny sites. It is a vining plant with glossy green leaves. There are both purple and white flowering varieties. Ajuga reptans is another suggestion. This plant comes in a variety with bronzy-green foliage. It produces tall spikes of brilliant blue flowers in early spring. Epimedium has heart-shaped leaves that turn red in the fall and winter; Potentilla (Cinquefoil) has small green leaves and bright yellow flowers.

Hope one of these plants is just right for your garden.

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