Groundcover Options - Knowledgebase Question

Storrs, CT
Avatar for Lois23
Question by Lois23
February 24, 1998
I have a large sloping area that I'd like to convert from grass to a groundcover of some sort. The area gets full sun and is well drained. What I really love is the look of baby tears, but that's not going to work in New England and in full sun. What can you suggest that is hardy in CT, likes sun, looks like baby tears and is not myrtle (a.k.a. periwinkle or vinca minor)? Oh, and spreads quickly. Sorry to ask for so much.

Answer from NGA
February 24, 1998
There are lots of ground covers that should thrive on your hillside. From your mention of baby's tears, I gather you want one with very fine foliage that grows close to the ground.

Your best bet might be creeping sedum (Sedum acre). It is a succulent, evergreen perennial with small leaves that grows to a height of only about 2 inches. It likes sunny, well-drained sites. It can, however, become invasive.

Irish moss (Sagina subulata) is a mat-forming perennial--almost a "living carpet". It also likes sandy, well-drained soil and full sun.

For fast, efficient coverage, I like Ajuga. Though it is not as fine textured as the others, it is very hardy and reliable. There are many, many different varieties with different colored foliage and flowers. It's semi-evergreen, growing to a height of 4 to 6".

Cerastium tomentosum (Snow in Summer), grows to a height of about 6", with silvery foliage and white flowers. It likes sandy, well-drained soils and full sun; it can also become invasive.

Other choices include Antennaria dioica (Pussy's Toes) and Lysimachia nummularia aurea (Golden Moneywort or golden creeping Jenny). Potentilla tridentata (Wine-leaf cinquefoil) grows to a height of 3 to 9"; it is a fine-textured plant but is, unfortunately, slow to establish.

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