Ask a Question forum: Can't come up with a groundcover!

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Mississippi
sockofrog
Apr 12, 2018 3:03 AM CST
Hello all, I am new to this particular forum. I am in a real dillema. We own a house that sits on top of a steep hill. The hill currently is a big hodge podge of a mess of plants. Currently it has patches of periwinkle, daylilies, and even clumps of Liriope! And weeds...lots of weeds.
I'm trying to get a nice uniform look for this area. The hill is steep, so I can't mow it. I prefer to not have to weed it. My wife practically refuses to weed and I sleep during the day due to work schedule. So I need it to be maintenance free as possible.
I am in north Mississippi, and the hill is on the north side of my house. So it doesn't get a ton of sun. I wouldn't call it full shade though.
I need something that's an evergreen.
I would like the cover to fill in fairly quickly, but I also don't want something that will be invasive and get out of control and start encroaching into my neighbor's lawn down below the hill. We don't have any kind of retaining wall barrier at the bottom of the hill. I know in general having something that fills in fast AND isn't invasive is kind of a contradiction....but that's why I'm here for help.

Here are the plant ideas I have been tossing around.
1. Keep the periwinkle and just buy more of it to fill the entire hill with it. What bothers me about periwinkle is some parts of it look good on my hill, and other parts seem to get a lot of weeds and grasses growing through it. So I'm concerned how well it will be for weed free maintenance. I also worry about it's invasiveness. It hasn't really spread beyond the bottom parts of my hill where it's currently at, but I think the previous owners have a thick weed fabric buried at the bottom of the hill.

2. Asiatic Jasmine. This was actually recommended to me by a local garden center that came out to look at my hill. I read this plant is very aggressive and it can get out of control quick. So that's worrisome that I might lose control of it.

3. Regular Mondo grass. I think if the grass would arch down the hillside that could be a neat effect. I'm not sure how invasive it would eventually get though, and someone told me recently it may not be the best for suppressing the weeds.

Anyways that's what I have thought of so far. But none of them sound ideal. So that's why I'm here. Thanks for your help.

Thumb of 2018-04-12/sockofrog/467172

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Apr 12, 2018 7:04 AM CST
very tough situation.
My dad tried periwinkle and we never got it to make a solid weed free cover. It throws out long stems to root and spread, but plenty of open space before it thickens up.
Vines or shrubs throw out stems that may root- be sure to clear out and mulch well with anything like that. They leave a lot of open ground for weeds to pop up before they fill in.
spreading Liriope sounds best of those you named so far. Really tough mat of roots that I think would cut way down on what can come in. The spreading it may do at the bottom of the hill can be cut back with a shovel- unlike an ivy or periwinkle that will throw out longer stems. Yes, Liriope is 'invasive' in that it has gotten into wild areas. In your situation, it would only try to spread outside the edges of your hill.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Mississippi
sockofrog
Apr 12, 2018 7:13 AM CST
So what would be better? Liriope Spicata or regular Mondo grass? I know they are two different plants but a lot of people seem to use the terms interchangeably. I know before we had our retaining wall built we had patches of Liriope spicata (I think) and I remember absolutely no weeds grew in it. But now it's slowly popping up through all the new sod they laid down at the top of the wall where we had the ground flattened out. I do think the look of Mondo grass might be neat if the blades arch down the hill to where it would almost look like a waterfall of grass.
So Liriope or Mondo would be easier to control than a vining type plant overall? 🤔
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Apr 12, 2018 8:55 AM CST
It's very confusing which is what with Liriope. Most homeowners and I bet many landscape maintenace types don't really know which is which. I think Spicata is spreading (S-S), and Mondo is mounding-clumping.
If you have one that is definitely spreader, you can keep helping that along.
Liriopes roots do spread below the surface, so you need to watch the edges.
My opinion is the grassy groundcover is easier long run. My concern with shrubby things is, if you can't keep the mulch solid, things will pop up because the soil isn't solidly covered.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

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