Ask a Question forum: NW shade ground cover plants and also sun loving plants that need less water

Views: 642, Replies: 11 » Jump to the end
Name: Anne
(Zone 8a)
aothompson
Feb 11, 2015 4:45 PM CST
I am in zone 8a/8b, in the Vancouver, WA area. Am looking for ideas for shade ground cover plants and also sun loving plants that need less water in this area. The soil is rocky and heavy. I love succulents and know about them, but am looking for others with low water needs, including some that will cast some shade over a garden grass that gets burned in the hot sun. Thanks for any ideas you might have!
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Feb 18, 2015 6:53 AM CST
Hi Anne, Welcome! to ATP!

Your growing area is so different than mine that I hesitate to make suggestions, but let's see if someone in your area can toss out some ideas.


@Bonehead
@springcolor
@valleylynn

One or more of these helpful members should be along soon to address your question, but in the meantime you could take look at their plant lists and see what they're growing. Smiling

Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Feb 18, 2015 8:56 AM CST
Hi Anne, and Welcome! to ATP.

Do you have a specific plant height for the ground cover, and the what height do you need for the sun loving plants?

There are a number of Armeria that are really tough plants in summer drought. How tall is the garden grass that you are talking about?
Can you take a few photos of the areas you want to add plants to?
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!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
Image
springcolor
Feb 18, 2015 10:01 AM CST
http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2013/06/drought_toler...
You might read this. i think you may need to ammend your soil to lighten it.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Heidi
Grants Pass, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
HeidiOregon
Feb 20, 2015 2:35 AM CST
Marigolds are great sun loving flowering plants that come in many sizes and don't require a lot of watering... they like it kind of dry. Easy to start from seed as well.

Coral bells (Heuchera) are great and low maintenance for a ground cover idea. Mine get the spring sun, and early morning sun, but then shaded during most of the day. They can be full shade to part sun. Comes in different heights and the low growing ones I have stay green year round, flowering in the spring. Easy to divide too. I just cut off a section and stick it straight in the ground in another part of my garden and it just keeps going! For the low growing, mounding variety I have, I break apart a rooted section grown off the side of the mother plant and just plant that.
[Last edited by HeidiOregon - Feb 20, 2015 2:39 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #793878 (5)
Name: Heidi
Grants Pass, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
HeidiOregon
Feb 20, 2015 2:44 AM CST
I should add, if you are interested in the low growing coral bells, search for miniature coral bells.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Feb 20, 2015 12:03 PM CST
Welcome Anne! Couple plants come to mind --

Shade ground covers:
Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) (native to PNW)
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) (native to PNW)
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) (can be aggressive, I've not had a problem with that)
Bishop's Weed (Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum') (same as above, many folks actively hate this - I like it)
Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis)
Red Barrenwort (Epimedium alpinum 'Rubrum') (or any of the barrenworts, slow to spread out for me)
Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy') (can get away from you, but easy to pull where not wanted)
Two-leaf False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum dilatatum) (native to PNW)
Dwarf Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum)
Creeping Raspberry (Rubus rolfei) (native to PNW)

I'm fortunate to have good soil, but think any of the following would do well in a sunny spot with little supplemental watering:
Renard's Cranesbill (Geranium renardii) (or any other real geranium, this is my favorite)
Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima) (native to PNW)
Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa 'Pink Panda') (or any ornamental fragaria)
French Lavender (Lavandula dentata) (I struggle with lavender, they like sharp drainage)
Goldenrod (Solidago Little Lemon)
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) (this grows everywhere for me - self sows freely, nice spots of white)

Good luck, and be sure to post pictures of whatever you decide on. We love watching gardens-in-progress.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Anne
(Zone 8a)
aothompson
Feb 20, 2015 7:20 PM CST
Thanks, All, for the great response to my question about plants in the Vancouver, WA, area! Chelle, thanks for enlisting help. ValleyLynn, I'll look at Armeria, thanks for the idea. The 3 ornamental grass plants I want to add shade to with plants behind them are very short, to answer your question.
Springcolor, that's a good article, I've seen it and am familiar with some. We added new wood chips last year, hoping to keep a little moisture in but that didn't help. (It was our first garden season in this home.) We do amend the soil with mulch when planting, and with sand for succulents (if that's what you meant).
HeidiOregon, I love Heuchera! We do have some and I've grown it before, but didn't know how to divide it so thanks for that and I may add more in the shadier area.
Bonehead ~can't help but wonder how you came to choose that name, love the photo with the bird~ Thanks so much for the great list. I'll look at all of these... and I completely agree with you about chickens. I want to live in that world, too : - )
Thanks again; if I get photos I'll upload them.

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Feb 20, 2015 7:36 PM CST
With time Cyclamen hederifolium will make a ground cover in shade.
I agree about the Epimedium. And they are really drought tolerant in shade.
Ranunculus ficaria 'Coppernob' is a real beauty with it's very dark shiny leaves and orange/yellow blooms. If it doesn't get water in the summer is goes dormant until rains come again in late fall.

Some of the tall Sedum (no called Hylotelephium) such as Autumn Joy, http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=Hylotelephium+&bu...
Most a really tough plants that will do well in many types of soil and are somewhat drought tolerant.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Feb 20, 2015 8:35 PM CST
You're welcome, Anne.

After taking the opportunity to read a bit more about your climate, I had a question relating to your moisture control issue; what time of year did you plant? It looks to me like early autumn would probably be the best time to get natural plantings of new perennials established, and late spring might be the most difficult since it's coupled with rising temperatures and far less rainfall.

Vancouver sounds like a wonderful place to be, and an average of 218 growing-season days sounds divine! Ours levels out at a mere 144.

If you have any pictures of the area from last year, we'd love to see them. Perhaps we could add a bit more advantageous info once we see the space. Smiling

Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Feb 20, 2015 9:02 PM CST
Actually early to mid spring is a great time to get new plantings started in that area. I used to live up there. They tend to have slightly cooler summer temperatures than we do here in the Willamette Valley, OR.

It would be great to see photos of the areas you want to plant. Hurray!
Name: Anne
(Zone 8a)
aothompson
Feb 22, 2015 3:49 PM CST
Deb (and others), I must apologize, after I sent my message I noticed that everyone's name is on the far right of their messages. Now that I know that I will use real names. I am going through the suggestions and will respond once I have some ideas of which ones might work for me. Thanks again!

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "Chrysanthemum"