The Q&A Archives: ground covers

Question: Hello,
I am looking for low-growing, shade-loving, colorful ground covers. Does Monrovia carry any that you would recommend? The summer climate is hot, but there is a lot of clay in the soil and the growing area is very dark.

Answer: There are a number of plants you could use such as Vinca minor, Hedera helix, Ligularia nummularia aurea, Liriope, Hosta and Ferns (there are variegated and/or colored foliage forms of all of these) for starters.

They will all gorw best however if the soil is well prepared prior to planting. This means loosening the soil down six to ten inches and adding some organic matter such as good quality compost, chopped rotting leaves, aged manure and stable bedding, or similar material) plus some coarse sand or fine grit. You may also need to adjust your pH based on soil test results.

After planting, you will need to care for them until they become established. This means watering as needed to supplement rain and keep the soil slightly moist (not sopping wet or saturated) and mulching between them to help keep the soil moist, hold down weeds, and feed the soil slowly as it breaks down over time.

Your local county extension and professional nursery staff may have additional suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the planting area and your design goals. Good luck with your ground cover!

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