Shade Tolerant Ground Cover - Knowledgebase Question

Knoxville, TN
Question by rburle
November 20, 1997
I am looking for a shade loving, short (8 - 14 inches), perennial ground cover that will grow under an oak tree.
I am considering spearmint, but I am not sure if it will meet the specifications listed above. I want to cover the surface roots of the oak. Any suggestions?


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Answer from NGA
November 20, 1997

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When faced with the same dilemma in my own yard (only I was trying to cover massive Silver Maple roots) I chose Pachysandra (also known as Japanese Spurge). Don't let the name scare you - it's a great ground cover and did exactly what I wanted it to. I found that it does best in the shade, it will not spread well in the sun. I have seen it available in just about every nursery catalog I have ever looked at. Mine came from a fellow gardener and she obtained hers from Wayside Gardens in Hodges, SC. Their phone number is 1-800-845-1124. I don't think the Spearmint would spread vigorously enough in the shade to meet your expectations.

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