The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover in Shade

Question: My rather large yard in Northeast Texas has many pine trees, so areas of it are very shady. I have given up on establishing grass in these areas, I am wondering about a ground cover that does well in shade. I have heard that a native Texas plant called "horseherb" is good for dry, shady areas with poor soil (this describes my yard) but I have been unable to locate any plants or seeds. Any suggestions?

Answer: Horseherb, Calyptocarpus vialis, also called Zexmenis hispidula, grows to a height of 1 1/2 to 3 feet, with lance-shaped leaves. It prefers a sunny spot and well-drained soil. Contact Plant Delights Nursery, 9241 Sauls Rd., Raleigh, NC 27603 (ph# 919-772-4794) for more information about the plant. (I believe they classify it under Zexmenis)

Other options include:

Ajuga reptans - durable, reliable; adapts to sun and shade, tolerates dry soil
Euonymus fortunei (winter creeper) - sun and shade, growth is trailing and vine-like, will form solid cover.
Hedera spp. (various ivies; English ivy is Hedera helix)
Liriope (lily turf) - strap-like leaves, sun and shade, looks like coarse, shaggy grass; small flowers in summer

I hope this gives you some ideas!

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