The Q&A Archives: Shady Hillside Planting

Question: We have a shady hillside in NW Washington. What type of perennials or vines could we plant that might help keep the soil on the hillside instead of in the river?

Answer: There are a number of vining groundcovers that would help hold the soil on your shady hillside, and provide some seasonal color, as well. Vinca minor is evergreen with glossy dark green leaves and white, pink, or purple flowers, Houttuynia cordata produces heart-shaped leaves and small white flowers, Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) has shiny green divided leaflets and star shaped flowers, and Euonymus fortunei (Winter Creeper) comes in either all-green or variegated green and yellow leaf colors. Perennials might also include ornamental grasses, hosta, pansies, Pink Panda strawberry, and Japanese Spurge. Each of the plants listed above will grow well in hard to water hillside soils, providing you keep them well watered while they're becoming established. After that, they'll do fine with only occasional supplemental water during the hottest summer weather.

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