The Q&A Archives: Fire-safe & shade loving ground cover

Question: I have just cleared a large space behind my home that of tons of pine needles and wild blackberry. The space is under old large trees and gets a lot of shade. I would like to plant something that would fill in the space but is fire-safe, as I live in the country and it would be the zone 1 around my home. My elevation is 2700 feet in the Sierra foothills. We get some snow once in awhile during the winter and the lowest temperature it gets to during winter nights could go to 10 degrees.
And...I am a totally NOVICE gardener.
Thanks so much!

Answer: Hosta would be my first choice for such an area. They are fire-safe plants, would love the acidic and humusy soil and will spread into attractive clumps of foliage as they mature. There are many to choose from - white margined, yellow margined, solid deep green, rippled green, etc., etc. These plants will lose their foliage at first frost but if you mulch over the soil after the leaves die, the roots will remain alive and new foliage will appear the following spring. Another option if you want an evergreen groundcover is Vinca minor. It loves the same conditions and reliably spreads to cover old stumps and lumps in the ground.

Best wishes with your garden!

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