The Q&A Archives: best groundcover

Question: I have an area in my front yard that is full sun moist not well draining soil. That is where my bird feeder and bath are. I would like to attract birds or butterflies to that area. What would the best groundcover for that area that is not unsightly in the fall?

Answer: There are a number of plants you could use, depending on your overall design goal. Siberian or Japanese iris (Iris sibirica, I. ensata) might grow there, depending on how wet it really is. You might like the look of the relatively short growing ornamental grass, Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea 'Variegata' (commonly called variegated purple more grass, although it is not purple). You might also consider using some low to medium height shrubs; these would create a wonderful thicket for birds. Some to consider might be sweetspire or Itea virginica "Henry's Garnet", summersweet or Clethra alnifolnia, red chokeberry or Aronia arbutifolia "Brilliantissima", deciduous holly or Ilex verticillata, and the evergreen inkberry holly, Ilex glabra. I hope this gives you some ideas.

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