The Q&A Archives: Shallow rooted perennials

Question: We have a long sloping driveway on the side of our house with an area for planting between the driveway and the house. It was planted with juniper and holly bushes, which did well. However the root system of the plants grew into the water and sewer lines which run under the driveway. We have pulled all the plants and are now planning to terrace the area. Are there shallow rooted perennials that can be
utilized? If so, please give some examples. Thank you.

Answer: Most perennials root into only about the top foot of soil at the most, so you should be able to grow a range of plants. If it is a full sun location you could consider creeping thyme, creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), daylilies, sedums, or rudbeckia, for example. If it is shady and the soil is evenly moist, you could try hostas and ferns, for example.

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