The Q&A Archives: ground covering plants

Question: I want to plant ground covers in the back of my yard. it will be fairly sunny and the soil is clay but ill top soil and get the soil ready for planting. what ground covers would be the fastest growing in northern virginia. thankyou

Answer: There are a number of plants you could use such as Vinca minor, Hedera helix, Ligularia nummularia aurea, Liriope, Moss Pink (Phlox subulata), Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra terminalis) or Ornamental grasses (numerous genera, species, and cultivars) for starters. They will all grow best 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 rotted 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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