This issues' topic - "no brainer" groundcovers other than ivy :)
For the Sun -
For sunny spots it's hard to beat creeping Sedum varieties. They do like good drainage so a slight mounding of the planting area is recommended. They are heat and drought resistant (due to their succulent foliage that retains moisture well) and winter hardy to between 20 (zone 5) and 30 (zone 4) below. All varieties mentioned here reach less than 6" in height Some popluar varieties are -
Album murale - very dense fine textured foliage with tufted
stalks of white flowers in mid summer.
The flatest growing variety of creeping Sedum I've seen :)
Dragon's Blood - One of the better known and more commonly seen varieties it has a medium textured folige with round leaves. It is quick to spread and has bright lavender red flowers in mid summer.
Kamschaticum - foliage similar to Dragon's blood is slightly more dense. Also quick to spread and a real showoff with masses of yellow flowers mid summer!
Fuldaglut - Named as the glow (glut) of the baroque city in Germany. It has pink flowers in mid summer and medium texttured rounded leaves on a compact spreading plant.
Espescially Emerald blue and pink..
Truly a must somewhere in every garden! Nothing says "welcome!" to spring like Creeping Phlox. This early bloomer simply explodes in mass color from it's evergreen mat of foliage just after winter breaks. Creeping Phlox will also tolerate some shade.
For the shade -
Commonly seen in bronze/purple leaved varieties it also comes in a tri-colored variety called "bugundy glow". Personally I have found the bronze leaved flavors to be the tougher stock for the "no brainer" garden :) It's blue flower spikes appear in april and may. It is quick to spread and will grow in poor soils although it performs best in rich organic soils. It will even creep out into the sun but will have flatter rosettes in sun than in shadier locations. The foliage at it's tallest will be only about 4-6". I have used "metallica crispa" successfully in zone 3! (40 below)
While they last we have some chunky clumps in gallon pots in the front nursery that just came up from production this week...
Lirope - Perhaps one of the most versatile ground covers I've seen.. Also called "monkey grass" this camper will grow anywhere from full shade to full sun! In shade it grows to about a foot tall. In the sun it will grow to only about 4" - 6". Blue flower spikes pop up from the grasslike foliage in late summer. It comes in a range of cultivars including some with varigated green and white striped leaves. Here again I have found the straight green varities to be the best performers for the "no brainer" garden :)
I am often asked what will grow where most plants won't, or what can be grown to cover space with little to no care. These plants are some excellent choices for those conditions :)
'til next time,
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