The Q&A Archives: need pretty groundcover under a blue spruce tree

Question: I want to plant groundcover under a 30foot tall Blue Spruce tree. The tree was pruned of branches to 10 feet up. The ground underneath is bare except for weeds. Would you please suggest ground cover that would thrive in those conditions? I'd like to plant a pretty groundcover that has pretty leaves and flowers. Thank you.

Answer: What you need is a ground cover that likes dry shade. You're in luck because there are several that should do well there: Periwinkle or myrtle (Vinca minor). This evergreen perennial vine trails the ground with shiny, dark green foliage and wonderful blue flowers in spring and sporadically throughout the summer and fall. Easy and low maintenance. Ajuga or bugleweed (Ajuga reptans). This ground cover spreads quickly by stolons or runners, and has lovely purple flowers in spring. There are many varieties to choose from, all with distinctive foliage: green, variegated, bronze, purple. Epimedium grandiflorum, sometimes known as barrenwort or bishop's hat. This plant has lovely, heart-shaped leaves and either pale yellow, white, or rose flowers in spring. It is slow to establish, but will hold its own against the competing roots. Scratch the soil up the best you can and spread a couple of inches of topsoil to plant the ground covers in so they can take hold. All of these ground covers need to be watered the first summer until they are well established. After that they should do fine in normal conditions.

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