Perennials forum: Need suggestions for groundcover plants

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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Sep 14, 2013 2:35 PM CST
I'd love some suggestions on flowering groundcovers that will grow fast, in full sun, and on a steep slope. Drought tolerant would be better than not, if possible. This is for a South facing dry hill. I can water it, but don't want to have to water it a lot after it is established. I'm either in zone 7a or 7b. Haven't quite figured that out yet!

Thanks for any help!
Natalie
[Last edited by Natalie - Sep 14, 2013 2:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Sep 14, 2013 4:57 PM CST
Hey Natalie, not sure if it's drought tolerant but it has done well for me with no additional watering: St. John's Wort

http://www.pnwplants.wsu.edu/PlantDisplay.aspx?PlantID=207

And I have some...it multiplies pretty fast. Let me know. A padded envelope would probably hold quite a few plugs. Green Grin!
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 14, 2013 5:00 PM CST
Thanks Arlene, I have some of that growing here already, but not sure if I have the ground cover type or not. I'll have to check it out as soon as it cools off! Maybe I can just transplant it. If it's the same stuff, it never gets watered unless it rains, and it's doing good!
Natalie
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Sep 14, 2013 5:20 PM CST
If it is, it spreads easily. I just dig/pull pieces p with a bit of root and plant.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Sep 14, 2013 5:30 PM CST
I'd like to suggest variegated vinca. (Common name)

There are some photos is this thread

The thread "Ivy" in Ask a Question forum

Both the slope on the street level behind the rose, and the rocky slope at the top of my property face somewhat south-east ... more east than south.

Of course the plants look better when I give them some water, but I do not water them more than once a month in a climate where day temps stay in the high 90s to low 100s during the summer months. We do get anywhere from 25 to 50 inches of rain during the winter months. Some snow at my elevation, which rarely sticks for more than a day or two. This year, we had snow that stuck around for a month, but it did not kill the vinca.

It can be invasive, put others site users posting in the thread above seem to be able to control it better than I have. Smiling

Smiles,
Lyn

PS... St. John's Wort is moving over from my neighbor's yard and seems more successful at establishing itself on the rocky slope.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 15, 2013 12:21 AM CST
Thanks Lyn. I always thought that vinca had to have some shade. I guess that isn't the case? My neighbor in Utah had it in full shade, and other neighbors had it in mostly shade. That is why I never considered it. The place I want to plant it will have no shade at all. From what I know, our climate is pretty much like that of Northern CA, but we have only lived here a short time. I think you may get more rain than we do, since our annual amount is supposed to be between 25 and 30 inches, but everything else seems very similar. I'm from CA originally, and am very familiar with the Northern part of the state.

Thanks for the suggestion!
Natalie
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
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virginiarose
Sep 15, 2013 8:05 AM CST
I would like to suggest Delosperma Cooperi, I would not suggest it before because I thought it was invasive. My friends straighten me out. This is so beautiful and comes in different colors like purple and pink.

Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 15, 2013 9:17 AM CST
Sorry to inject a negative here but these are a plants to avoid.
Creeping Jenny I'm not sure it would tollerate the dry slope but it is impossible to get rid ov
ALSO the common Lamium maculatum goes everywhere covers everything.I planted these 2 when my gardens were new and I wanted some weed controle,now the weed is Jenny and maculatum and I am the controller.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
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virginiarose
Sep 15, 2013 9:30 AM CST
Creeping Jenny and Dead Nettle is a noxious weed here. Farther north it is probably not a problem except where they get a lot of rain like Washington state. What is ov?
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Sep 15, 2013 9:37 AM CST
Have to be careful with ground covers because like Jo Ann says you turn into the controller and that can take so much time.
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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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lovemyhouse
Sep 15, 2013 9:40 AM CST
Natalie, before you plant anything, check with the county extension office to find out what is considered invasive for that area. Bet they would have some good suggestions for you, too, since they are familiar with the region.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Sep 15, 2013 9:42 AM CST
I agree I agree I agree That's a great idea!!!!!
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 15, 2013 10:04 AM CST
great idea
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Sep 15, 2013 10:13 AM CST
Ground covers are naturally invasive, that is why they are considered ground covers.

My variegated vinca handles direct sun all of the time. I don't have any real shade on my property. The vinca on the upper slope has never been truly cared for for nine years and has not been invasive because there is little soil there and it can find some purchase between some of the rocks. It stays put.

The vinca behind the rose is covering an almost vertical rock wall and the only place it has truly become invasive is when it topped the wall and started growing under the dogwood tree. The shade provided by the tree, is giving the plant more of what it wants, but if your slope doesn't have shade, it won't be as aggressive.

So if you are looking for a groundcover that survives even when it doesn't get what it wants, this plant has worked in my garden. Yup, I am working to get it out from under the tree and out from under the rose it is moving towards. Note: Both the area under the tree and the rose get more regular watering, that is why the plant is moving towards those areas.

It's a possible solution.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Sep 15, 2013 10:15 AM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Sep 15, 2013 10:18 AM CST
I forgot to add that there is some non-variegated vinca mixed in at the bottom of the slope by the rose, and it does OK, but I see it growing through and under the variegated vinca. I have a hunch the plant naturally needs more shade than it can get on that slope because it has never climbed the slope.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 15, 2013 10:33 AM CST
I've been to the county extension office, and if a plant isn't considered a weed here, they don't seem to know too much about it. They are into weed control more than anything. Like the yellow star thistle that are taken over. It's a great ground cover! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing They did give me the name of the closest supplier of native plants (a couple of hours away, at best), but they had no idea if there was a ground cover in that category. They also gave us the name of a native grass seed supplier in the city, and we've been there. He had nothing that was a pretty flowering ground cover, since he only deals in grasses. We're not wanting to plant lawn on any slopes, but we'll be buying a few pounds of some clumping type grass seeds in the Spring for other slopes and flat areas. I want something that blooms for a particular spot though, and don't want grasses growing there.

Jo Ann, I'm glad to know of negatives also! With the battle we are having to do with the yellow star thistle, I'm not wanting to plant anything that I'll have to battle in the future!

I had Dead Nettle in Utah, and it was gorgeous! I had a couple of different ones, and only one was truly invasive. It was yellow, and had Lucifer in it's name, if I remember right. It was a fitting name. I never want to see that plant again! The pink, purple, and white ones did great and were very easy to control, but they didn't do all that great in the sun, even with lots of water. They bloomed like crazy in the shade, but bloomed very little in the sun. It's a good suggestion though, and I may plant some here, if I find out that they can survive on a lot less water than what they were getting there.

Susan, my first thought was Delosperma, which I grew in Utah, but it was so slow growing that I put it out of my mind! It's one of my favorite ground covers, and I know it does well in the heat, and is drought tolerant. My best friend is from South Africa, and she had lots of it planted at her house because of that, but it didn't grow fast for her either. Maybe it was because of the zone? We were in 5a. My Dad has it at his house in zone 3, and it blooms really well, but doesn't spread much at all for him, either. I've seen where it's hardy to zone 6, so maybe that is why it doesn't really spread. Now that I'm in a warmer zone, maybe I should give it another try! It would be the one that I'd prefer over all the other ones that I'm aware of.
Natalie
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Sep 15, 2013 10:52 AM CST
We have a problem with star thistle here, too. On a good note, the star thistle has not invaded the vinca bed. I have a flat bed at the bottom of the slope by the rose where native grasses and star thistle have tried to move in, but the vinca is in control, so I don't have to worry about it there.

Since the snow generally melts within a day or two, I don't even go down and brush off the plants.

I hadn't weeded around the bed when this photo was taken and no, it doesn't get watered regularly. When I shovel snow off of the driveway, I dump it on this bed.




Thumb of 2013-09-15/RoseBlush1/19cd0e

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 15, 2013 11:11 AM CST
Lyn, the vinca sounds like it might be ideal, if it's keeping the star thistle from invading an area. Does it re-root itself as it grows? If it does, it would be great at stabilizing the soil, which would be an added bonus. My husband pulled everything off of part of one slope, mostly star thistle, between the lawn and the driveway and now it's just bare dirt. We know that the seeds will grow this winter, but we hope to get it all out of there in a year or two. We're planting wildflowers there next year, because it would be so pretty, but I doubt that will last forever, since they won't really stabilize the ground much. We live in a river canyon, so some of our property is very steep! We're removing all of the star thistle that we can, but with 12 1/2 acres, some of it close to vertical, we'll never get rid of all of it. But, we need things that can compete to keep in under control. At the bottom of the slope between the lawn and the driveway is a row of pine trees, and that is the only place that there is any shade. Sounds like it would be a bad idea to plant the vinca there, as it would invade the lawn eventually. But, I have other spots where it would be great, and could grow all it wants!
Natalie
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
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lovemyhouse
Sep 15, 2013 12:40 PM CST
Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)

Hardy Blue Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

Candytuft (Iberis amara)

Purple Verbena (Glandularia canadensis 'Homestead Purple')

Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox subsp. arcticus)

Santa Barbara Daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus)
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 15, 2013 1:07 PM CST
Thanks Debra! Those are some good ones!

I didn't know that Candytuft was considered a ground cover. I've got some here that came with the house, and it sure isn't covering anything! I do love it though.

Snow in Summer doesn't do good here, according to my neighbor. She said she's planted it a few times, and it never survives the winter. Not sure why, other than it may be too warm.

I'd love to plant Creeping Thyme, and probably will eventually. It is a good one for honey bees too. I have several large areas of it at our house in Utah, and it was one of my favorites. It just didn't bloom long enough. It also handles some foot traffic, which is a plus. I can just see the dogs running through it, and smelling good when they are done! I'll save that one for a special spot!
Natalie

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